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August 14, 2022

U.S. halts arms treaty cooperation with Russia

Moscow downplays decision, which comes as President Dmitry Medvedev threatens to deploy missiles to target the U.S. missile shield in Europe.

WASHINGTON / MOSCOW – The United Sta­tes has announced that it will not allow Russian inspections of U.S. bases or share data with Rus­sia on its nonnuclear weapons stores in Europe after years of failed efforts to revitalize a Cold War-era arms treaty, Radio Free Europe reported. U.S. State Department spokeswo­man Victoria Nuland, who served as the leading U.S. negotiator on the issue before taking up her current post, announ­ced the decision to stop meeting its obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty with respect to Russia.

“The U.S. has made a decision to cease implementing vis-a-vis Russia certain obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty,” Nuland said. “This move responds to Russia’s cessation of implementation of the CFE, which began in December 2007, and the subsequent impasse with Moscow on a way forward.” She added: “It is our understanding that a number, if not all, of the NATO allies will do the same.”

Observers suggest the impact of the decision is more symbolic than practical, since other signatories are likely to forward such information on to Moscow. The decision was played down by the Moscow Foreign Ministry as unlikely to harm Russia’s interests, RIA Novosti said. “The decision of NATO countries does not harm the Russian interests, but it calls for intensified efforts of all interested parties to determine the future of arms control regime in Europe,” the ministry said in a statement.

The move came as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that Russia will deploy missiles to target the U.S. missile shield in Europe if Washington fails to assuage Moscow’s concerns about its plans, ‘The Guardian’ said. Medvedev added that he still hopes for a deal with the U.S. on missile defence, but he ac­cused Washington and its Nato allies of ignoring Russia’s worries. The U.S. has repeatedly assured Russia its proposed missile defence system would not be directed against Russia’s nuclear forces, and it did that again on Wednesday. “I do think it’s worth reiterating that the European missile defence system that we’ve been working very hard on with our allies and with Russia over the last few years is not aimed at Russia,” said a Pentagon spokesman. The White House spokesman, Tom­my Vietor, said the U.S. will continue to seek Moscow’s co-operation, but it must realise “that the missile defence systems planned for deployment in Europe do not and cannot threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent”.

The NATO secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said he was “very disappointed” with Russia’s threat to deploy missiles near alliance nations. He said that “would be reminiscent of the past” and inconsistent with the strategic relations NATO and Russia seek.

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