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US, Russia walk away from conventional arms control agreements

US, Russia walk away from conventional arms control agreements

Posted November. 09, 2023 08:49,   

Updated November. 09, 2023 08:49


The United States and Russia signaled their withdrawal from treaties on control of nuclear and conventional arms. Even with China also contributing to the arms race, there are growing concerns over the deepening of the new Cold War era.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Tuesday that circumstances have fundamentally changed due to Russia’s pullout from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and its military advances into Ukraine, one of the CFE signatory states, announcing that Washington will not observe the obligations set forth by the CFE treaty as of Dec. 7 according to international law. A statement issued by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), primarily led by Washington, on that same day was in line with its major member’s announcement. The CFE is an arms control treaty signed by NATO and the Warsaw Pact led by the Soviet Union in 1990 – during the late years of the Cold War era – to put a limit on each other’s lists of arms and their quantities.

The announcements from the U.S. and NATO came right after Russia made an official statement to withdraw from the CFE system. State-owned TASS Russian News reported that the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry stated on Tuesday that the government completed procedures to leave the CFE treaty as of midnight.

It is not the first instance where Washington and Moscow walked away from disarmament agreements. Back in 2019, it was Washington that left first as the Trump administration declared to suspend the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty's obligations to constrain their armament race. On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin also announced in February that he would leave the New START, a nuclear arms reduction treaty jointly signed along with Washington. Last Thursday, he stated that Russia repealed the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

With Washington and Moscow having stepped away from arms control treaties, there are growing signs of major countries making an increasing armament effort amid geopolitical threats in 30 years since the end of the Cold War. Added to this, Chinese President Xi Jinping has also spurred the country to be armed heavily since he took power.

Eun-A Cho achim@donga.com