Ukraine Ratifies Open Skies Treaty

April 2000

After three failed attempts to do so in past years, Ukraine ratified the 1992 Open Skies Treaty on March 2. Of the 27 treaty signatories, only Russia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan have yet to ratify the treaty, which will permit states-parties to conduct unarmed observation flights over the entire territories of other treaty members. The treaty will not enter into force until Russia and Belarus ratify the accord because it requires all signatories with passive quotas—the number of flights a country is obligated to permit over its territory each year—of eight or more to ratify the treaty before it can enter into force. A country's quota is loosely scaled to the size of its territory.

Washington is raising Open Skies ratification with Moscow, but Russian ratification of START II and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty are higher priorities for both states. Until entry into force, the treaty is in provisional application with several states, including Russia, conducting trial flights. The United States has participated in 51 trial missions since 1993.