The United States plans to withdraw from another arms treaty with Russia on Sunday, according to a new report.
State Department officials told Fox News the Trump administration will withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty — a post-Cold War agreement struck to allow nations to conduct flyovers of other allies in an attempt to collect military data and other intelligence on neighboring foreign enemies.
‘s wish to leave the treaty was first reported by the network in May.
“While the United States, along with our Allies and partners that are States Parties to the treaty, have lived up to our commitments and obligations under the treaty, Russia has flagrantly and continuously violated the treaty in various ways for years,” Secretary of State said at the time. “This is not a story exclusive to just the treaty on Open Skies, unfortunately, for Russia has been a serial violator of many of its arms control obligations and commitments.”
During his first term in office, Trump and his allies have boasted they have been tougher on Russia in recent years than any previous administration, despite claims of an inappropriately friendly relationship between the president and his Russian counterpart.
In June, Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned the legality of the Trump administration’s desire to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.
“The timing of your decision — less than five months before an election — is also suspect. Beginning the U.S. withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, without complying with U.S. domestic law or constitutional practice, is an obvious political maneuver in an attempt to bind a future administration,” senators wrote in a letter to Pompeo and former Secretary of Defense . “As such, we demand that you immediately discontinue your efforts to initiate the withdrawal process until Congress is provided with the requisite notification under the [National Defense Authorization Act], and the Senate has had an opportunity to weigh in on the withdrawal.”
In August, the Trump administration pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, an agreement banning nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers that was signed in 1987.
At the time, the administration accused Russia of violating the terms of the treaty after saying U.S. officials had “tried everything possible since May 2013” to stop Russia from building up its nuclear capability.
–Updated at 8:53 a.m.
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