A general view of the Russian Foreign Ministry main building in Moscow, Russia, 27 January 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

Russia formally exits European arms control treaty

Moscow, Nov 7 (EFE).- Russia on Tuesday concluded the procedure for withdrawing from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), which it denounced in May, the Russian foreign ministry announced.

“At 00:00 on November 7, 2023, the procedure for Russia’s withdrawal from this Treaty, provided for by the CFE Treaty, was completed. Thus, the international legal document, the validity of which was suspended by our country back in 2007, has finally become history for Russia,” the ministry said in a statement.

“At the same time, two more legally binding agreements inextricably linked with the CFE Treaty, the so-called Budapest Agreement of November 3, 1990 on maximum levels for the availability of conventional weapons and equipment of the six member states of the Warsaw Pact, as well as the so-called Flank Document dated May 31, 1996” that limited Russian flank deployments have also ceased to be valid, it added.

CFE, considered in its time the cornerstone of European security, eliminated the Soviet Union’s quantitative advantage in conventional weapons in Europe.

The treaty set equal limits on the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles, heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters that NATO and the Warsaw Pact could deploy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains.

The original document was signed by 22 NATO countries and the Soviet Union but the version updated nine years later to reflect the expansion of the Atlantic Alliance and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact was no longer ratified by the then 30 allies.

“Taking into account the direct responsibility of NATO countries for inciting the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the admission of Finland to the alliance and the ongoing consideration of a similar application from Sweden, even the formal preservation of the CFE Treaty has become unacceptable from the point of view of Russia’s fundamental security interests,” the Russian foreign ministry said.

According to the ministry, “attempts to ensure military security in Europe without taking into account the interests of Russia will not lead to anything good for their initiators.”

Moreover, “attempts to cling to outdated agreements that do not correspond to the new situation are also doomed to failure and are fraught with the collapse of cooperation mechanisms in the field of arms control,” it warned. EFE