Open Skies Survives Tension

Mutual US and Russian observation overflights permitted under the Open Skies Treaty have continued unabated despite military tensions with Russia. Air Force OC-135s have flown 17 Open Skies missions so far this year, including three survey flights over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, in response to Russian military actions, reports Stars and Stripes. “The Open Skies Treaty is one avenue for diplomacy that is still open,” Navy Cmdr. Chris Nelson, Open Skies mission boss, told Stars and Stripes ahead of a flight over Russia from Yokota AB, Japan, earlier this month. The United States earlier this year called off Vigilant Eagle, a joint counterterrorism air defense exercise with Russia, due to the situation in Ukraine. Russian violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has also strained US-Russia relations.