Russia completely withdraws from CFE treaty: Foreign Ministry

This photo shows a view of the Kremlin, taken in Moscow on October 18, 2022.  AFP file
This photo shows a view of the Kremlin, taken in Moscow on October 18, 2022. AFP file

Russia has officially withdrawn from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) at midnight on November 7, 2023, the country’s Foreign Ministry said, citing the United States’ failure to ratify NATO enlargement and adaptation of the treaty. Reasons given. For its return.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the CFE treaty has become “obsolete” and no longer meets Russia’s security interests. The ministry also accused the United States of “undermining” the treaty by failing to ratify the adaptation agreement after negotiations in the late 1990s.

“Russia says goodbye to the CFE Treaty without regret and with full confidence that it is doing the right thing. The positive and negative experiences gained during its creation and implementation will be taken into account,” the minister said.

The CFE Treaty was a landmark arms control agreement signed in 1990 to limit conventional weapons, including tanks, artillery and armored vehicles, in Europe. The treaty was also meant to help reduce tensions between the former Soviet Union and NATO.

However, Russia believes that the CFE Treaty is no longer consistent with Europe’s current security situation. Accordingly, Russia suspended its participation in the treaty in 2007. In 2015, Russia announced that it would no longer participate in the treaty’s verification mechanism. Later today, it withdrew from the agreement altogether, effectively ending the country’s participation in the pact.

Despite significant geopolitical changes such as the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the CFE Treaty continued to provide security guarantees for Russia, the ministry said in the statement. It facilitated reciprocal reductions in conventional arms, particularly involving NATO countries such as Germany, helping Russia address its domestic security priorities and combat separatism and extremism.

However, as circumstances developed, some provisions of the CFE Agreement, particularly those relating to flank borders, no longer corresponded to Russia’s interests. Additionally, NATO’s expansion by the United States and its allies led to the treaty’s restrictions being circumvented, rendering its original form obsolete.

“Convinced of its ‘victory’ in the Cold War, the United States initiated the expansion of NATO and, as a result, alliance countries began to openly circumvent group sanctions imposed by the agreement. Thus, the CFE agreement, at its core “As such, it has lost connection with reality, and Russia has tried to adapt it to the newly arising circumstances,” the ministry said.

To address these challenges, an agreement to adapt the CFE Treaty was signed in 1999 but never entered into force. The United States sought to preserve the original treaty and discouraged its allies from ratifying the adaptation agreement.

The ministry further said that Russia’s decision to withdraw from the CFE treaty was a result of the destructive stance of the United States and its allies towards the adaptation agreement. This was a part of Russia’s efforts to resist the dominance of the Western world and its imposed security concepts.

By suspending the CFE treaty, Russia left the door open to negotiations to restore conventional arms control in Europe. Unfortunately, Western countries did not take advantage of the opportunity for cooperation and continued to pursue anti-Russian policies instead of working together.

Due to the direct involvement of NATO countries in escalating the conflict in Ukraine, as well as Finland’s recent accession to the alliance and consideration of Sweden’s possible membership, maintaining the CFE Treaty in its current form is now in line with Russia’s fundamental security concerns. is not acceptable.

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