Putin is to use conventional weapons
While the USA states that elements of its antimissile defense will be established in Europe anyway, the RF president Vladimir Putin executes what he has recently promised. On Saturday, Jule, 14 on the Kremlin official website it was reported that Russia suspended its participation in the arms control pact and all concomitant agreements.
There is not a single word about the USA in the annex to the decree, though; it says that the step has taken as retaliatory measures, “until the NATO countries ratify Agreement for adaptation and start conscientiously abide by this document”.
It is remarkable that a day before Putin received in his Novo-Ogarevo residence participants of the Russian-American working group “RF-USA: a glance in the future”. The atmosphere was conciliative. Putin told that Russian-American relations should be directed towards interests of people of the both countries and that they should not depend on the current politics. According to the Kommersant daily, the degree has been approved already a month ago, just after the failure of an Extraordinary Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe in Vienna which was convened on Russia's initiative. But Moscow did not hurry publishing it. First Russia did not want to darken meeting of Bush and Putin in Kennebunkport, second, for not to give adversaries of the Olympics 2014 in Sochi new arguments before the decisive voting.
The CFE was signed in 1990 betwee 22 countries of NATO and Warsaw Pact. The Treaty limits the category, number and disposition of armed forces and non-nuclear heavy weaponry.
It is designed for not to let any country to concentrate forces and to invade territory of another state. In 1999 the Treaty was updated but hitherto the new version was ratified and executed only by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. NATO countries refuse to ratify it, until Russia withdraw its troops from Georgia and Transnistria. Russia undertook such obligations in 1999 in Istanbul, but now it insists that it bears no relations to the CFE. Thus the Treaty did not become legally obligatory for NATO countries; so that when former Soviet Baltic Republics joined the alliance, it got opportunity to place on territories free from restrictive agreements almost any troops and weapons. Russia openly expresses discontent with this situation more that once.
In several hours NATO spokesman James Appathurai condemned the decision. ‘‘NATO regrets this decision by the Russian Federation. It is a step in the wrong direction,’’ he said. In response to reproaches with too slow discussion of the updated version of the CFE, the spokesman said that it would be ratify as soon as possible. Disappointment of the Moscow’s decision expressed representatives of department of foreign affairs of the Great Britain, France, Poland and other countries.
Putin announced about Russia’s intension to declare moratorium on the CFE yet in April in his address to the Federal Assembly. The RF president stated that West countries did not abide by the updated version of the Treaty and that the military structure of the alliance conducted itself “at least tactless”, approaching Russia’s boundaries. Earlier, in February of the year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation also announced about possible withdrawal from the Treaty. It remarked that numerical restrictions for NATO had been exceeded when countries of the Eastern Europe joined the alliance in 1999.
But if announcements of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not remarked, Putin’s words evoke widespread response in the West; some analysts considered this statement to be a beginning of a new stage of confrontation between Russia and the West. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer expressed “grave concern, disappointment and regret” and named the CFE a cornerstone of European security. But there still no steps towards Russia have been taken.
The main sequence of the moratorium is suspension of mutual inspections of military units and refusal to inform other countries about conducting manoeuvres. However it should be mentioned that the suspension does not mean withdrawal from the Treaty. Parties still have time to meet compromise, since the moratorium will take effect in 150 days after the notification of member countries. Thus, Russia obtains a new possibility to press on the USA.