NATO suspends security treaty after Russian pullout

BRUSSELS –


NATO on Tuesday announced the formal suspension of a key Cold War-era security treaty in response to Russia’s pullout from the deal.


The alliance said its members who signed the treaty are now freezing their participation in the pact.


Most of NATO’s 31 allies have signed the Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which was aimed at preventing Cold War rivals from massing forces at or near mutual borders. It was signed in November 1990, but not fully ratified until two years later.


NATO said that “a situation whereby Allied State Parties abide by the Treaty, while Russia does not, would be unsustainable.”


Russia’s foreign ministry announced earlier Tuesday that Moscow had finalized its withdrawal.


In response, NATO said, allies who had signed “intend to suspend the operation of the CFE Treaty for as long as necessary, in accordance with their rights under international law. This is a decision fully supported by all NATO Allies.”


NATO underlined that its members remain committed “to reduce military risk, and prevent misperceptions and conflicts.”


Russia on Tuesday finalized its pullout from a key Cold War-era security deal, more than eight years after announcing the intention to do so, the Foreign Ministry said.


The development came after both houses of the Russian parliament approved a bill proposed by President Vladimir Putin denouncing the Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Putin signed it into force in May this year.


The treaty — aimed at preventing Cold War rivals from massing forces at or near mutual borders — was signed in November 1990, but not fully ratified until two years later. It was one of several major Cold War-era treaties involving Russia and the United States that ceased to be in force in recent years.


Russia suspended its participation in 2007, and in 2015 announced its intention to completely withdraw from the agreement.


In February 2022, Moscow sent hundreds of thousands of Russian troops into the neighbouring Ukraine, which also shares a border with NATO members Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.


On Tuesday, the ministry said the process of the formal withdrawal from the treaty has been completed, without elaborating what that entailed. It blamed the U.S. and its allies for the withdrawal and the West’s allegedly “destructive position” on the treaty.


“We left the door open for a dialogue on ways to restore the viability of conventional arms control in Europe,” it said. “However, our opponents did not take advantage of this opportunity.”


The statement further said that “even the formal preservation” of the treaty has become “unacceptable from the point of view of Russia’s fundamental security interests,” citing developments in Ukraine and NATO’s recent expansion.

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