Russia has abandoned the treaty after putting it on hold in 2007

The effects of the end of the CFE Treaty: these were its limits on combat vehicles and aircraft

This Tuesday, Russia has taken the final step to bury the era of détente that arose after the end of the Cold War in 1989.

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Russia unilaterally abandons the CFE Treaty

Today, the Russian Federation has definitively abandoned the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), signed in 1990 between the Atlantic Treaty Organization North (NATO, which brings together Western democracies) and the Warsaw Pact (PacVar, which brought together the former communist dictatorships of Europe). The treaty was signed a few months before the dissolution of PacVar, but until now Russia remained part of it as the legal heir of the USSR.

After invading Ukraine, Russia now threatens Poland

It should be noted that the pact was on hold for years now by decision of Russia, which in 2007 unilaterally suspended its participation in it, but without abandoning it definitively, as it finally did today. To justify its abandonment of the treaty, Russia has accused the US of undermining post-Cold War security with the expansion of the NATO military alliance. However, the only country that has joined the Alliance in the last three years has been Finland.

Russia's accusation is very cynical considering its invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign country. An invasion that has been carried out with the launch of missiles at Ukrainian cities very close to the borders with NATO member countries such as Poland and Romania. Today, the greatest threat to peace in Europe is precisely the Putin regime. Let us remember, without going any further, that last year Russia threatened Poland with being invaded next. A few days ago, Dmitry Medvedev, who now holds the position of vice-president of the Russian Security Council, threatened Poland again, saying that it will be dealt with by Russia as "a historical enemy."

The US and NATO leave the treaty on hold

Of course, the consequences of Russia's withdrawal from the CFE Treaty have not been long in coming. Today the United States has announced that it is suspending its obligations with that treaty, noting:

"Today, the Russian Federation withdrew from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). The combination of Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty and its continuing full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine – another CFE State Party – has fundamentally altered circumstances that were essential to the CFE States Parties’ consent to be bound by the treaty, and radically transformed the obligations under the treaty. In light of this fundamental change of circumstances, the United States will suspend the operation of all CFE Treaty obligations between itself and every other State Party, effective December 7, consistent with our rights under international law."

Así mismo, la OTAN ha comunicado hoy su condena de la retirada de Rusia del Tratado, señalando que su guerra de agresión contra Ucrania "es contraria a los objetivos del Tratado". En respuesta a la decisión de Rusia, la Alianza Atlántica ha señalado:

"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 limitations established by the CFE Treaty

In its Article IV, the CFE Treaty (seen can read here), pointed out the following limitations on conventional forces for both parties:

  • "20,000 battle tanks, of which no more than 16,500 shall be in active unit"
  • "30,000 armoured combat vehicles, of which no more than 27,300 shall be in
    active units. Of the 30,000 armoured combat vehicles, no more than 18,000 shall be armoured infantry fighting vehicles and heavy armament combat vehicles; of armoured infantry fighting vehicles and heavy armament combat vehicles, no more than 1,500 shall be heavy armament combat vehicles."
  • "20,000 pieces of artillery, of which no more than 17,000 shall be in active units."
  • "6,800 combat aircraft."
  • "2,000 attack helicopters."

The suspension of this treaty represents the definitive return of the Cold War to Europe, a return for which the Putin regime is solely responsible, with its policy of aggression against its neighbors (first Georgia and now Ukraine). and threats to NATO member countries.


Photo: Reuters.

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