Russia to quit 1992 accord that eased travel curbs with US

In this file photo taken on April 21, 2021 two police officers patrol at Red Square in central Moscow.
(KKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

Russia plans to announce its withdrawal soon from a post-Cold War agreement with the United States that eased restrictions on diplomats traveling around each other's countries, Russia's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The 1992 memorandum of understanding on "open lands", which was signed after the Soviet breakup, agreed to do away with "closed" areas on each other's territories and allow each other's diplomats to travel without seeking permission.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov flagged the move in April as part of Moscow's retaliatory package against Washington after the United States expelled 10 Russian diplomats over alleged election interference and other malign actions

"A government order denouncing Russia's memorandum on open lands is on its way," Sergei Ryabkov, the official, was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov flagged the move in April as part of Moscow's retaliatory package against Washington after the United States expelled 10 Russian diplomats over alleged election interference and other malign actions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden are due to meet for a summit in Geneva later this month.

On Monday, Ryabkov said Russia would send what he described as "uncomfortable" signals to the United States in the coming days.

Also on Wednesday, the Russian defense ministry said Russian military will closely monitor upcoming naval drills co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States and react if necessary to protect its own national security.

Moscow said naval drills co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States went well beyond what it called Ukraine's own Black Sea zone

The annual Sea Breeze drills, which are focused on the Black Sea area, will involve personnel from a number of NATO countries and are set to take place from June 28 to July 10, the ministry said in a statement.

Moscow said the drills went well beyond what it called Ukraine's own Black Sea zone.

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"The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation will closely monitor the preparations and the Ukrainian-American 'Sea Breeze' exercises themselves…and if necessary respond appropriately to the situation in the interests of ensuring Russia's military security," the ministry said.