Russia's parliament voted yesterday to suspend compliance with a key Cold War treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe as Moscow signaled it was weighing new force deployments on its western flank.
The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, voted unanimously to approve a Kremlin decision to suspend compliance with the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty from Dec. 12.
The CFE treaty "no longer responds to the security interests of the Russian Federation" in light of NATO expansion and other factors that have altered the European security landscape, according to the motion approved by the Duma.
The vote amounted to confirmation of a decision announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin last July, and officials said Russia was more interested in seeing NATO countries comply with the treaty than in scrapping it.
The original pact, signed by the states of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, was modified in 1999 to take account of the breakup of the Soviet Union and the evolving security allegiances on the continent.
Russia is the only party to have ratified the updated CFE pact. NATO members, led by the US, have balked at ratifying the new deal until all Russian forces are out of ex-Soviet states Georgia and Moldova.
Shortly before the Duma vote, a senior Russian defense official said Russia was looking at options for bolstering conventional force deployments on its western flank with Europe in light of the CFE suspension.
"Work is being done on this issue," Russian Deputy Minister of Defense General Alexander Kolmakov said.