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U.S. and NATO Allies Suspend Major European Arms Treaty After Russia Withdraws

“Russia is finally saying goodbye to the CFE Treaty without regret and with full confidence that it is right,” the country’s foreign ministry said.

Russia on Tuesday withdrew from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty, causing the United States and its NATO allies to suspend the major agreement, which limited the number of military vehicles and weapons that could be deployed in Europe.

The U.S. will formally suspend its participation in the treaty on Dec. 7, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said. Other NATO allies are following suit at different paces. For example, Canada's Foreign Affairs Ministry said it would suspend its operation on Feb. 7, 2024.

The treaty was signed in 1990 and it eliminated the Soviet Union's military advantage in Europe by placing equal limits on the amount of military equipment that NATO and members of the U.S.S.R.'s Warsaw Pact could deploy between Russia's Ural mountain chain and the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Arms Control Association. Equipment impacted by the treaty included heavy artillery, tanks and combat aircraft.

NATO said its members condemn the Kremlin's decision to withdraw. "Russia continues to demonstrate disregard for arms control, including key principles of reciprocity, transparency, compliance, verification, and host nation consent, and undermines the rules based international order," the alliance said.

NATO members will suspend the treaty "for as long as necessary," the group also said.

Russia's decision to withdraw from the treaty comes more than a year and a half after it invaded Ukraine.

"Russia is finally saying goodbye to the CFE Treaty without regret and with full confidence that it is right," the country's foreign ministry said Tuesday, as translated.

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