Issue Brief on “Russia’s formal withdrawal from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)”

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On November 07, 2023, Russia formally completed the procedure to withdraw from the landmark Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement said that now the treaty was “history for Russia once and for all”.[1]

The statement also highlights the suspension of two other legally binding agreements closely associated with the CFE Treaty, the Budapest Agreement of 3 November 1990 and the Flank Document of 31 May 1996 − have also lost force for the Russian Federation.

Russia’s official withdrawal from the CFE, which reflects its long-held dissatisfaction with the Treaty is a significant development in European security dynamics. The withdrawal comes amid heightened tensions due to the Ukraine conflict and broader geopolitical strains, which have made it untenable for Russia to continue its participation.

This move by the Russian Federation has raised serious concerns about a potential arms race and increased tensions between Russia and NATO, casting doubt on the future of arms control agreements and highlighting the challenges facing European security in a changing geopolitical landscape.

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