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Trump Lends Putin Another Helping Hand, Pulls US Out Of Treaty That Allows Surveillance Of Russia: Report


Donald Trump may have just lent Russian President Vladimir Putin another helping hand. On Monday, the U.S. President announced that the country would be withdrawing from the Treaty on Open Skies, an agreement between 34 nations that allows unarmed military aircraft to fly over each other’s territory for observation purposes.

One of the main benefits of the treaty is that it allows the United States and its allies to fly over Russian airspace for the purpose of gathering intelligence. These flyovers were important in monitoring Russia as they invaded and occupied the Crimean Peninsula.

But Trump hasn’t been a big fan of the treaty, claiming that Russia is not in “complete compliance with [its] obligations.”

Just last year, Trump blocked funding for the treaty in the annual defense authorization bill. Two months after, Trump officials refused to certify a Russian airplane for Open Skies overflights — but quickly changed course and approved the flight.

Russia, for its part, has accused the United States of being in violation of the treaty, with Federation Council Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Dzhabarov saying of the original defunding effort, “This is an attempt to hide everything the Americans will be preparing in the course of a new arms race.”

“NATO allies and partners, and Ukraine in particular, have repeatedly stressed the importance of the Open Skies Treaty for their efforts to monitor Russia’s military, wrote House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) in a letter to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. “Withdrawal risks dividing the transatlantic alliance and would further undermine America’s reliability as a stable and predictable partner when it comes to European security.”

Naval War College professor Tom Nichols, a Trump-skeptic conservative and military expert, had an even blunter reaction: “There is literally no reason to do this, other than to tell Rube Nation ‘I pulled out of treaties.’”

RELATED: Israel Looking To Become Russia’s Ally After Trump’s Erratic Move On Syria

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