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Moscow to deny US planes overnight stays at 3 Russian airfields starting January

Moscow was forced to take the steps in response to US actions hampering observation activities

(RT) – Moscow is set to cancel several agreements with Washington under the Open Skies Treaty, in response to the US creating obstacles for Russian observation activities, the Foreign Ministry said.

Russia will cancel overnight stops at three airfields for US observation planes, as well as cancel a number of bilateral agreements that were made to facilitate observation flights, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday. The measures will take effect on January 1.

“Following the general political course to further worsen the relationship with Russia, Washington has entirely groundlessly accused Russia of violating the Open Skies Treaty and undertaken unilateral steps to create maximum obstacles for Russian Open Skies missions conducted over US territory,” Zakharova said.

Moscow was forced to take the steps in response to US actions hampering observation activities, Zakharova stressed. The spokeswoman signaled that the restrictions were reversible, if the US backtracks on its policies.

“We urge our American colleagues to stop and seek a depoliticized, mutually beneficial solution to the issues of the treaty,” she said.

The Open Skies treaty, designed to lower suspicions and build mutual trust, was proposed during the Cold War era, and eventually signed in the early 1990s by over 20 countries. The treaty entered force in 2002, allowing the parties to conduct observation flights to monitor each other’s military activities.

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