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‘An enormously dangerous situation’: Open Skies Treaty Suspended

The US has suspended its Open Skies Treaty with Russia after President Donald Trump signed a giant 2019 defense budget bill. Lawmakers also tried to derail a milestone nuclear arms deal that has been in place since 2011.

Trump signed the $716 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Monday, and it will come into effect ahead of the new fiscal year in October. But some key deals with Russia were targeted by lawmakers.

The 1992 Open Skies Treaty, which allowed for mutual observation flights, was suspended. Congress wants President Trump to penalize Russia for what it says are violations of the treaty. However, Moscow says the charges are unfounded and maintains that it has always acted strictly in accordance with the agreement.

US lawmakers also suspended funding for any modifications to America’s own surveillance planes. Technical troubles with the ageing US spy fleet have left Washington unable to actually carry out the full number of spy missions over Russia that are allowed under Open Skies. Only 13 of the 16 overflights allowed in 2017 were actually flown, according to Michael Krepon, expert at arms control blog network Arms Control Wonk.
more: https://www.sott.net/article/393490-An-enormously-dangerous-situation-New-US-military-budget-halts-Open-Skies-pact-almost-axes-nuclear-arms-reduction-deal-with-Russia

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