Putin confirms Russian exit from overflight treaty

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AP

Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a bill to withdraw from an international treaty allowing surveillance flights over military facilities, following the US exit from the pact.

The bill was endorsed by Russian lawmakers after US officials told Moscow last month that President Joe Biden’s administration had decided not to reenter the Open Skies Treaty that the US left under President Donald Trump.

As a presidential candidate, Biden had criticised Trump’s withdrawal as “short-sighted.” Moscow had signaled its readiness to reverse the withdrawal procedure and stay in the 1992 treaty if the United States returned to the agreement, but now Putin’s signature seals the Russian withdrawal that would take effect in six months.

Putin and Biden are to have a summit in Geneva on June 16, a meeting that comes amid soaring tensions in Russia-U.S. Ties that have hit post-Cold War lows after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, accusations of Moscow’s interference in US elections, hacking attacks and other issues.