Russia formally withdrew from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) at midnight on November 7, 2023, the country’s foreign ministry said, citing NATO expansion and the failure of the United States to ratify its adjustment condition. for his withdrawal.
In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the CFE Treaty has become “obsolete” and is no longer in line with Russia’s security interests. The ministry also accused the United States of “undermining” the treaty by failing to ratify an adjustment agreement negotiated in the late 1990s.
“Russia bids farewell to the CFE Treaty without regret and with full conviction 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 intended to help reduce tensions between the former Soviet Union and NATO.
However, Russia believes that the CFE Treaty is no longer in sync with the current security situation in Europe. Therefore, Russia suspended its participation in the treaty in 2007. In 2015, Russia announced that it would no longer participate in the treaty’s verification mechanisms. Later today, he pulled out of the deal entirely, effectively ending the country’s participation in the treaty.
Despite significant geopolitical changes, such as the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, the CFE Treaty continued to provide security guarantees for Russia, the ministry said in the statement. It facilitated mutual reductions in conventional arms, notably by including NATO countries such as Germany, helping Russia address internal security priorities and combat separatism and extremism.
However, as circumstances developed, some provisions of the CFE Agreement, especially those related to restrictions on the sides, were no longer aligned with Russia’s interests. Furthermore, the expansion of NATO by the United States and its allies has led to the circumvention of the treaty’s limitations, rendering its original form obsolete.
Confident of its ‘victory’ in the Cold War, the United States embarked on the expansion of NATO, and as a result, the alliance countries began to openly circumvent the group restrictions imposed by the Agreement. Thus, the CFE Agreement, in its original form, has lost touch with reality, and Russia has tried to adapt it to the new conditions,” 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 adjustment agreement.
The ministry further said that Russia’s decision to withdraw from the CFE Treaty was a result of the destructive attitude of the United States and its allies towards the adjustment agreement. It was part of Russia’s efforts to resist the dominance of the Western world and its imposed notions of security.
While suspending the CFE Treaty, Russia left the door open for dialogue on restoring conventional arms control in Europe. Unfortunately, Western nations did not seize the opportunity for cooperation and continued to pursue anti-Russian policies instead of cooperation.
Due to the direct involvement of NATO countries in the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, together with the recent entry of Finland into the alliance and the possible accession of Sweden under consideration, the maintenance of the CFE Treaty in its current form is no longer acceptable from the point of view of of Russia’s fundamental security concerns.
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