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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Russia to withdraw from European arms treaty

President Putin has appointed an official to supervise the country's exit from the suspended 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

Russia has indicated its intention to formally withdraw from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), a military transparency agreement that is currently suspended. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has been selected by President Vladimir Putin to supervise the procedure in the Russian parliament.

The appointment was revealed on Wednesday as part of regular Kremlin announcements. Ryabkov will represent the government in both chambers of parliament regarding the proposed withdrawal, the document said.

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Leonid Slutsky, the leader of the nationalist LDPR party, told RIA Novosti that a draft law on Russia’s withdrawal from the treaty could be introduced as early as this week.

The CFE treaty was one of the cornerstones of the attempted de-escalation of tensions between the Warsaw Pact bloc and NATO during the final days of the USSR. Signed in 1990, the agreement set limits for deployment of conventional forces on the European continent and established various transparency mechanisms, such as on-site verification inspections.

Moscow has long complained that the expansion of the US-led military bloc, which included the accession of former members of the Warsaw Pact, was undermining the treaty.

In 2007, Russia announced a partial suspension of the CFE, citing the failure of new NATO members to subject their military forces to limits specified in the treaty. Moscow fully withdrew from CFE mechanisms in 2015, saying it saw no purpose in continued participation.

In February, Russia suspended participation in New START, the last bilateral nuclear arms reduction agreement with the US. The Russian government accused Washington of using the Ukrainian military as a proxy force to attack airfields that host Russian long-range nuclear-capable bombers, and of blocking Russian inspections of US nuclear facilities.

The US previously withdrew from several other treaties with Russia that were aimed at ensuring strategic stability. In 2002, President George W Bush pulled his country out of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, claiming the US needed a national defense system to defend itself from “rogue states.”

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The administration of Donald Trump put an end to the Treaty on Open Skies, which allowed participants to conduct air surveillance of foreign militaries. It also quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned certain land-based missiles, considered to pose a risk of unintentional nuclear conflict.