Russia announced on Friday (15) that it was leaving the Open Skies Treaty, one of the instruments to prevent a nuclear war that had been abandoned by Donald Trump.
With this, Moscow seeks to put more pressure on Joe Biden’s new US administration, which will take office next week, with the aim of extending the last atomic weapons reduction agreement in force.
Open Skies began trading in 1955, the Cold War, and was not signed until the year after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in 1992.
He predicted that the 35 signatory countries would combine mutual recognition flights over areas of military interest. It was a way to increase trust between the parties, given that the photographic investigation and with the spy sensors would be approved.
So if Russia put more nuclear forces, for example, in the European enclave of Kaliningrad, they would be seen.
Trump claimed that the Russians had vetoed certain areas and used their flights to spy on the United States and its allies, which was the raison d’être of the treaty. He announced his departure in May 2020, and it was consumed in November.
“In view of the lack of progress in efforts to suppress the future functioning of the treaty in this new situation, the Russian Foreign Ministry announces the procedures to leave Open Skies,” the file said in a statement.
In practice, Moscow does not want the 33 other participants in the agreement, mostly Europeans and participants in NATO (Western military alliance), to continue to be able to fly over Russia and share the data collected with the official. of the club, the United States.
But the underlying problem is the New Start (acronym for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which expires on February 5.
The main instrument for controlling nuclear weapons between the two superpowers on the ground, it places a ceiling of 1,550 operational warheads on each side, in addition to the launch limits for land, sea and air platforms.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has denounced the structures of the end of the Cold War as obsolete. He left the important agreement that prevented the installation of intermediate range missiles (500 km to 5,500 km) in Europe, saying that the Russians were preparing to disguise the use of this type of weapon.
Moscow, on the other hand, stressed that the anti-missile systems installed in Eastern Europe by the Americans could apparently be used without great difficulty.
The blame game is mutual and they are often right. But Trump led the wave of aggression, also leaving Open Skies and creating obstacles to the renewal of the fresh start.
In two years of negotiations, he first demanded that China and its 320 atomic warheads be included in the deal, which Moscow and Beijing did not agree to, then said it would take an extension if the Russians blocked any development of their arsenal.
President Vladimir Putin said no, and that’s why. Biden said during the election campaign that he wanted to renew the deal, which should be one of his first foreign policy steps, given the short time before the text expires.
With the movement of this Friday, Moscow reminds Washington that time is running out. Putin himself has said he expects a more aggressive US presidency against Russia under the Democratic regime, recalling the positions of the Obama administration, of which Biden was the vice.
This does not diminish Trump’s role in increasing tensions. He ordered that a low-powered nuclear bomb be put into service, that it be launched from submarines, and disclosed a simulated use of the weapon against Russia.
Russia was clear: any missile launch by an American submarine would be interpreted as an atomic attack. In other words, retaliation would run the risk of the Apocalypse.
Putin has also done his part by expanding production of what he called “invincible weapons,” such as hypersonic missiles, designs designed to pierce anti-ballistic defenses. They were developed after the perception that anti-missile systems in Europe, installed in the 2000s, posed direct threats to Moscow.