The US insistence on deploying a Missile defence system in Eastern Europe is irritating Russia. I find it surprising that NATO simply allows the US to go ahead with no objections. This is not the first time that NATO is simply a fig leaf for US policy aims. The same was the case in Serbia and Afghanistan. THe US uses NATO and then after invasion a UN resolution(s) to provide another fig leaf justifying continued presence in the occupied countries. The US was unable to draft NATO for Iraq but the UN provided the post occupation resolution as in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
In many cases Europe seems to simply follow along with US policy even though it is not in Europe's interest. A new cold war is just beginning.
Russia suspends participation in European arms treaty
Last Updated: Saturday, July 14, 2007 | 4:02 PM ET
The Associated Press
Russia has suspended its participation in a key arms control treaty that governs deployment of troops and conventional weapons in Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen here on Friday, has been angered over U.S. plans to base parts of a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
(Dmitry Astakhov/Associated Press)
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree taking Russia out of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty due to "extraordinary circumstances … which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures," the Kremlin said in a statement Saturday.
In Brussels, NATO spokesman James Appathurai called the decision "a step in the wrong direction."
Putin has in past months threatened to freeze his country's compliance with the treaty, angered over U.S. plans to base parts of a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Under the moratorium, Russia would halt inspections and verifications of its military sites by NATO countries, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The treaty, between Russian and NATO members, was signed in 1990 and amended in 1999, adding the requirement that Moscow withdraw troops from the former Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia.
Russia has ratified the amended version, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to do so until Russia completely withdraws.
Russian troops have left Georgia, but soldiers identified by Moscow as peacekeepers remain in Transdnistria, a secessionist region in the former Soviet republic of Moldova.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia could no longer tolerate a situation where it was complying with the treaty but its partners were not, and he expressed hope that Russia's move would induce Western nations to commit to the updated treaty.
"Such a situation contradicts Russia's interests," Peskov told the Associated Press. "Russia continues to expect that other nations that have signed the CFE will fulfil their obligations."
The treaty is seen as a key element in maintaining stability in Europe and uses a system of mutual information and inspection. It primarily establishes limitations on countries' deployment of tanks, armoured combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters and combat aircraft.
Move seen as pressure tactic
Withdrawal from the treaty in theory allows Moscow to build up forces near its borders. But Russian military analysts have said the possibility of suspending participation in the treaty was a symbolic raising of ante in the missile shield showdown, more than a sign of impending military escalation.
Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based defence analyst, said the moratorium probably won't result in any major buildup of heavy weaponry in European Russia.
Russia has no actual interest in the costly buildup of forces because it faces no real military threat and has no plans to launch an attack of its own, he said.
However, he said it could mean an end to on-site inspections and verifications by NATO countries, which many European nations rely on to keep track of Russian deployments.