President Trump has decided to withdraw from another major arms control accord, according to senior administration officials, and will inform Russia on Friday that the United States is pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty.
It was negotiated three decades ago to allow nations to fly over each other’s territory with elaborate sensor equipment to assure that they are not preparing for military action. For more than a year, President Trump has said he would not renew the Open Skies Treaty unless China also joined. "There's a chance we may make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together," Trump said.
The US has accused Russia of not complying with the treaty. But Mr Trump denied that the withdrawal would increase tensions with Russia. European allies have lobbied for the US to remain in the treaty. Analysts and former officials say discarding another agreement could deepen global instability. On Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Hoffman reiterated US accusations that Moscow has imposed restrictions on fights near Kaliningrad, an area between Poland and Lithuania where the Russian military maintains a massive presence.