Moscow’s response to Washington’s withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies will depend on the outcome of a conference involving the treaty’s states parties but all possible options are on the table, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an interview with TASS, APA reports.
"As for our possible actions, we are assessing all possible options," he emphasized. Let’s see what the conference brings. We have no intention to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for anyone. In this regard, I would like to point out that Russia and Belarus are in the same group of the treaty’s states parties," Grushko added.
He pointed out that the depositary countries (Canada and Hungary) needed to convene a conference of the states parties no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days after receiving a notice of the United States’ decision to pull out of the agreement. There is no date for the event yet.
"Under the treaty, it should take place in July at the latest," Grushko said in response to a question. "Everyone who cares about the Open Skies Treaty's future should be interested in meeting in person instead of holding an online event. There will be a lot of issues to discuss," he noted, adding that it was too early to say who would represent Moscow.
According to the senior Russian diplomat, the US cannot be expected to change its mind. "Few believe that the US will suddenly come to its senses and choose to remain in the treaty. The arguments it provided to justify its withdrawal are far-fetched," Grushko stressed.