Today concludes the French mission to perform an observation flight over the territory of the Russian Federation. The flight forms
Today concludes the French mission to perform an observation flight over the territory of the Russian Federation.
The flight forms part of the implementation of the International Treaty on Open Skies and will take place along a mutually agreed upon route with Russian specialists on board to ensure strict observation of the agreed upon flight parameters.
Observation flights are generally conducted to promote greater transparency in the military activity of member states of the treaty. This flight comes just days after the US formally withdrew from the pact, citing Russian violations such as limiting flights over Russian territory as one of the reasons for its withdrawal.
Despite Washington’s unilateral exit, expect Moscow to continue to abide by the treaty in the short-term with most Open Skies overflights taking place in Europe. In the medium-term, Moscow is expected to amplify its calls for establishing a mechanism to exclude the US from any further treaty-approved intelligence sharing, as US allies like France and the UK seem intent to continue their joint Open Skies missions over Russia. Meanwhile, US President-elect Joe Biden, who opposed Washington’s withdrawal, may still have a path to revive the pact in a bid to defuse tensions between Russia and the West.
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