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Putin signs bill to officially remove Russia from Open Skies treaty

Putin's move comes a little more than a week before he's scheduled to meet with Biden in Geneva. File Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE 
Putin's move comes a little more than a week before he's scheduled to meet with Biden in Geneva. File Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE 

June 7 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin officially moved to leave the Open Skies Treaty on Monday, following a similar move by the United States that ended a long-running agreement that allowed surveillance flights over military facilities.

Putin signed a bill that was passed by Russian lawmakers last month to make the exit official. The United States under former President Donald Trump left the treaty in 2020.

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President Joe Biden's administration said last month it doesn't plan to rejoin the treaty.

The multinational pact was signed in 1992 and took effect in 2002 and allowed three dozen signatories to conduct joint unarmed observation flights over member nations' territories to monitor military operations.

The United States and Russia have blamed each other for violating the treaty as the chief reason for their exit. Upon the U.S. exit, Moscow called the decision "deplorable" and said it would undermine European security.

Now, the New Start treaty is the only major arms control agreement left between the United States and Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in February there would be a new five-year extension to New Start.

Putin's move comes a little more than a week before he's scheduled to meet with Biden in Geneva.

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