With the Open Skies Treaty dead, Russia kills a post-Cold War pact with the US called “Open Lands.”
Russia has vetoed another post-Cold War bilateral deal allowing unfettered movement for each other’s officials within their respective host nations, just days after officially withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty, which was initially abandoned last year by former US President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, Russia’s official online legal domain published an order canceling the “Open Lands” memorandum of understanding, which was signed by Washington and Moscow nearly three decades ago after the fall of the Soviet Union. The paper was signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on June 9, 2021, and authorized the Foreign Ministry to “tell the American side of this decision.”
The agreement, which was signed on June 17, 1992, shortly after Open Skies was formed in March, permitted the former adversaries to open their skies to each other, allowing U.S. personnel to travel across Russia and Russian troops to travel across the United States.
The lifting of such limitations was hailed as another another victory in the nascent U.S.-Russian relationship in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s demise. Today, however, the two countries are once again embroiled in a geopolitical rivalry that has corroded previous agreements, including nuclear weapons treaties.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised reprisal in April in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to impose penalties and expel some Russian diplomats over suspicions that Moscow was involved in election meddling and a massive cyberattack on the United States. Lavrov cited a variety of actions as the Kremlin planned to retaliate, including withdrawing from the Open Lands deal due to suspected US violations.
“Starting with a certain category of diplomats (advisers and below), it is necessary to notify the authorities of the host country when any of these employees are going to travel beyond a 25-mile radius around the city where their diplomatic mission is located,” Lavrov explained the rules of Open Land. He claimed that the issue is that “the Americans utterly disregard the necessity to send such alerts.”
Lavrov remarked at the time, “There was a recent incident when representatives of the military attache office traveled in central Russia without any notification.” “They just refused to answer a question from an authorized agent and indicated they would not deal with it.” This is a condensed version of the information.