Non-compliance and disputes between Russia and the US resulted in the US exiting the Open Skies Treaty. If Russia withdraws in response, European countries will lose an important source of intelligence.
The Open Skies Treaty (OST), which was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002, is one of the arms control treaties signed at the end of the Cold War. After the US exited in May, the treaty has been ratified by 33 countries from North America and Europe, including Russia.
The treaty allows signatories to conduct an observation flight with an aircraft equipped with sensors over the territory of another State Party with 72-hour notice. Flights can be used to monitor military instalments and manoeuvres, which reduces tensions by making the military activities of signatories more open.
In a trust-building measure, officers of both parties can be on board the flight and the imagery is made available to other State Parties. The equipment is also certified by State Parties. In total, over 1,500 flights have been conducted since the treaty came into force. Finland also conducts flights every year, particularly to Russia. Läs artikel