Russia's upper house of parliament voted unanimously to suspend a key Cold War-era arms control treaty on Friday, in a move that experts say reflects Moscow's growing anger over alleged Western moves toward military supremacy in Europe.
The Federation Council, a Kremlin-appointed body, said that on Dec. 13 Russia will cease compliance with the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which fixed the numbers and geographical deployments of armoured vehicles, combat planes, troops and artillery between the then-Warsaw Pact and NATO across Europe.
Russia has complained for years that the treaty became obsolete after the Warsaw Pact collapsed and many of its former members joined NATO, creating a vast superiority in all kinds of weapons for the Western alliance.
"The current CFE Treaty suits the United States and NATO because it allows for the implementation NATO's strategy of eastward expansion without any limits," Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the Russian armed forces General Staff, told the Duma last week.
While Russia ratified the treaty, most NATO states have yet to do so. Some former Warsaw Pact countries, including the ex-Soviet Baltic states, have been re-arming rapidly in recent years with Western-made weapons that are now aimed against Russia.