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Russia Withdraws from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty

May 17, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Russian State Duma voted yesterday to approve President Vladimir Putin’s earlier order formally withdrawing Russia from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. “[Russia’s] definitive withdrawal from the CFE Treaty and its denunciation fully correspond to the national interest of ensuring Russia’s security,” said Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.

Russia had suspended participation in the treaty as far back as 2007, but now has formally withdrawn. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a plenary session of the Duma: “Clearly, the treaty has finally become a relic of the past in the new situation. Our adversaries should be under no illusion that Russia could return to it.” He added that “there has emerged a new situation where even the formal preservation of Russia’s status as a party to the Treaty, despite its suspension, directly contradicts the interests of the country’s national security.”

“We have already written it off. It is a thing of the past. What other states will do is up to them to decide. They won’t be able to intimidate us,” Ryabkov stressed. He noted that

“the reaction (of the West) was not without an element of alarm. Naturally, we understand that it doesn’t add to the feeling of security in the West, but there are no grounds for any consultations here. Consultations should have been held earlier; the door has been open since the suspension of the treaty in 2007.”

Ryabkov indicated that Finland’s accession to NATO and the negotiation of an agreement to allow U.S. troops on Finnish soil was the final nail in the coffin of the treaty for Russia.

“Helsinki and Stockholm’s NATO bids, Finland’s accession to the alliance and its decision to conclude an agreement with the U.S. allowing the deployment of American forces on Finnish territory have significantly deteriorated the military and political situation in Europe,”

he said. “It has also made it so that we now have to solve tasks regarding our own security. Suffice to say, now U.S. and NATO forces will loom over St. Petersburg not only from the southwest, where there is a 105-kilometer [joint] border, but also from the northwest, where it is about 140 kilometers.”

Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, and former President, Dmitry Medvedev reported (in Russian) that Russia’s withdrawal from the treaty means that Russia can now deploy its own forces on its own territory in order to respond to the NATO threat to its borders without restriction.

“The State Duma has denounced the CFE Treaty. Good riddance. This document became irrelevant for us back in 2007. Now, none of the previously suspended international commitments can prevent us from placing our weapons wherever we want to protect our national interests. Including the part of Russia that is in Europe,”

Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel, adding that Russia would “maximize the production of weapons, military and special equipment and means of destruction.” [Emphasis in original.]

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