Russia to leave Open Skies arms control treaty on Dec 18

This image released by the US European Command (EUCOM) shows a Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter plane that's photographed from a US Air Force reconnaissance jet over the Baltic Sea on June 19, 2017. (MASTER SGT. CHARLES LARKIN SR / US EUROPEAN COMMAND / AFP)

MOSCOW – Russia has notified its partners under in the Open Skies arms control treaty that it will leave the group on Dec 18, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday.

The Kremlin said this month that the US decision to withdraw from the treaty – which allows unarmed surveillance flights over member countries – had "significantly upset the balance of interests" among the pact's members and had compelled Russia to exit.

ALSO READ: Russian parliament approves quitting Open Skies Treaty

Moscow had hoped that US President Joe Biden would reverse his predecessor's decision. But the Biden administration did not change tack, accusing Russia of violating the pact, something Moscow denied.

In January, Russia announced its own plans to leave the treaty, and the government submitted legislation to parliament last month to formalize its departure.

READ MORE: Russia announces exit from Open Skies treaty citing US withdrawal