The United States has curbed its cooperation with Russia on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Tuesday.
The restriction means that the United States will no longer exchange information on conventional weapons and troops with Russia four years after Russia stopped implementing the treaty in 2007.
“Today the United States announced in Vienna, Austria, that it would cease carrying out certain obligations under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty with regard to Russia,” Nuland said in a statement.
“This announcement in the CFE Treaty's implementation group comes after the United States and NATO Allies have tried over the past 4 years to find a diplomatic solution following Russia’s decision in 2007 to cease implementation with respect to all other 29 CFE States,” she said.
“Since then, Russia has refused to accept inspections and ceased to provide information to other CFE Treaty parties on its military forces as required by the Treaty,” she said.
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 However, later the document became largely outdated and irrelevant amid large-scale changes in the military and political environment.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.
Nuland also said her country will continue implementing the treaty and carrying out all “obligations with all States Parties other than Russia, including not exceeding the numerical limits on conventional armaments and equipment established by the Treaty."
"We will resume full Treaty implementation regarding Russia if Russia resumes implementation of its Treaty obligations,” she said.
“The United States remains firmly committed to revitalizing conventional arms control in Europe. In order to increase transparency and consistent with our longstanding effort to promote stability and build confidence in Europe, the United States will voluntarily inform Russia of any significant change in our force posture in Europe,” she said.