Moscow formally exited the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), and NATO announced it has suspended its participation in the agreement. The Cold War-era pact limited deployments of weaponry in Europe. The treaty has been on life support for over a decade as the North Atlantic alliance violated the agreement, and Russia suspended its participation in 2007.
On Tuesday, Russia declared the treaty was null and void. “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 explained.
Shortly after, NATO said it responded by suspending participation in the agreement. “Allies condemn Russia’s decision to withdraw from the CFE, and its war of aggression against Ukraine which is contrary to the Treaty’s objectives.” The NATO statement continued, “Therefore, as a consequence, Allied States Parties 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.”
The CFE was negotiated in the last years of the Soviet Union between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The agreement was meant to cap the deployment of conventional military weapons by both alliances. The treaty intended to reduce tensions on the continent by shrinking military forces to prevent large-scale operations.
After the USSR and Warsaw Pact dissolved, the North Atlantic alliance added former countries from both blocs as members. In 2007, the agreement suffered a major setback after the US announced plans to open military bases in Romania and Bulgaria that violated the pact. In response, Russia suspended its participation in the deal.