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Six years after announcing a unilateral moratorium on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), the Russian Defense Ministry has reaffirmed that the original document has no prospects in the future.
“The CFE treaty was signed when two opposing military blocs - the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact - still existed,” head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s department for control over the execution of international treaties Sergei Ryzhkov told reporters in Moscow on Monday.
“One of these blocs is gone, but the old treaty remains. I do not see its usefulness anymore as it has lost all meaning,” Ryzhkov said.
The officials stressed the need to evaluate the impact of all types of armaments on European security, including the newly-emerged high-precision weapons and strike drones, as the use of these new armaments may have a strong impact on the nuclear deterrent deployed by Russia and the NATO.
Ryzhkov said Moscow hoped to discuss with NATO new mechanisms of arms controls in Europe during a European security conference due in Moscow on May 23-24.
The original CFE Treaty was signed in 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members and came into force in 1992. The treaty set equal ceilings for each bloc on five key categories of conventional armaments and military hardware, including tanks, combat armored vehicles, artillery, assault helicopters and combat aircraft.
The CFE Treaty played a crucial stabilizing role during the breakup of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Eastern Europe. However, later the document became largely outdated and irrelevant amid large-scale changes in the military and political environment.
The treaty was updated in 1999, but NATO members states refused to ratify it citing the fact that Russia was keeping troops in Georgia and the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdnestr as a pretext.
Russia imposed a unilateral moratorium on the CFE treaty in December 2007, citing concerns over NATO's eastward expansion, U.S. missile defense plans for Europe, and the refusal of alliance members to ratify the adapted treaty. Moscow has repeatedly said it will resume its participation in the CFE if NATO member states ratify the adapted treaty.
In response, the United States and a number of its NATO allies announced in November 2011 they will no longer exchange information on conventional weapons and troops with Russia.