U.S. Retires Planes Used to Monitor Russia Under ‘Open Skies’ Treaty

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U.S. Retires Planes Used to Monitor Russia Under ‘Open Skies’ Treaty

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Air Force has decided to retire the planes used for nearly three decades to fly monitoring missions over Russia, taking a step that raises questions about whether President Biden plans to rejoin a treaty with Moscow that dates to the end of the Cold War.

Then-President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the 1992 Open Skies treaty, which was intended to lower the risk of conflict by allowing the post-Soviet Russian state and Western nations to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other’s territory.

Trump administration officials alleged that Moscow had violated the accord by limiting access for Western flights over Russian territory, while using its own flights over the U.S. to gather information on sensitive American infrastructure.

President Biden criticized Mr. Trump’s decision to leave the treaty during the presidential campaign but hasn’t said whether he intends to re-enter the accord, which could pose complicated legal issues.

A National Security Council spokesman said the administration was still reviewing the matter and talking to allies.

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