Europe must prepare for US exit from vital Russia treaty, former Nato generals warn,

A group of retired Nato generals and defence officials have urged the US to stay in a 1992 treaty with Russia on mutual reconnaissance flights, but also warned European capitals to prepare for a US exit.

The US defence secretary, Mark Esper, and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, are said by US sources to be determined to leave the Open Skies Treaty (OST), which European leaders and arms control advocates believe reduces the risk of a war breaking out through miscalculation by adding to mutual transparency.

A joint statement by a group of 16 retired military commanders and defence ministers, coordinated by the European Leadership Network (ELN) released on Tuesday, said the OST was a vital pillar of stability between nuclear powers.

“With 34 states parties, including the United States, Russia and most European countries, the multilateral accord has facilitated 1,517 short-notice and unarmed overflights,” the statement said.  “Throughout its operation, the treaty has increased military transparency and predictability, helped build trust and confidence, and enhanced mutual understanding.” Läs artikel