Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused NATO on Wednesday of increasing armed forces and weaponry disparity in Europe, while demanding Moscow fulfils its obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFTE), which Russia withdrew from in 2007.
“NATO’s efforts to increase the disparity in the sphere of conventional weapons in its favor and take control of conventional weapons in Europe in the name of conflict resolution have killed off the CFTE,” he said during his address to Russia’s Federation Council.
“Now, our NATO partners, talking about the need to revive control over arms in Europe, demand that we recognize Georgia’s sovereignty over its pre-2008 borders as a precondition for talks, and return to the CFTE which we left because its implementation was sabotaged by NATO members,” he said.
Lavrov said that these “absolutely unrealistic conditions, in this context, render joint work on the problems of conventional armament controls pointless.”
The CFTE was signed in Paris in 1990, and an amendment to it was signed in Istanbul at an Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) summit in 1999.
The adapted treaty was signed by only four nations: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.
Russia suspended its participation in the treaty in 2007 “while NATO countries have still not ratified the adapted treaty and have not started conscientiously implementing the treaty” Lavrov noted.
Moscow’s exit from the CFTE treaty was met with a negative reaction from NATO and several other countries entering the alliance at that time.
Moscow also fails to understand the purpose of NATO continuing to carry out large-scale military exercises, he added.
“It’s clear that today it is impossible to speak of any military attack threat to NATO countries involving conventional weapons,” he said. “So the aim of these exercises is, indeed, unclear.”