Russia warns US over military observation flights

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (photo by AFP)
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (photo by AFP)

Russia has warned the United States against further deteriorating bilateral ties by pushing a dispute over the so-called military observation flights.

Washington claims Moscow has breached the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement designed to build confidence between the two countries’ military forces, and has said it plans to take restrictive measures against Moscow.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the US restrictions on Russia would include restricting Russian military flights over American territory in response to what it said was Moscow preventing US observation flights over its heavily militarized Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow would retaliate against any new restrictions by Washington.

“Nobody has canceled the principle of reciprocity in international relations,” she said.

Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had made similar remarks.

“I have no doubt there will be a (Russian) response,” Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday. “But before announcing something on this, we have to analyze the situation with our military and look at how we’ll respond to the Americans.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (photo by AFP)

Ryabkov described Washington’s approach in the dispute as one-sided and said Russia would not yield to US pressure for it to make concessions.

The Treaty on Open Skies was struck on January 1, 2002 by the US, Russia, and more than thirty other countries. The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants a direct role in gathering information about the military forces and activities of concern to them.

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