Earlier today, the North Atlantic Council issued a statement announcing the decision of NATO Allied States Parties to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) to suspend all of their obligations under the Treaty. The United States fully joins in and supports this decision. Our suspension of CFE obligations is consistent with our rights under international law, in response to a fundamental change of circumstances caused by the combination of Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty and its continuing full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine, another CFE State Party, using the very forces the Treaty aims to constrain. The U.S. suspension will take effect on December 7. A number of our CFE partners that are not NATO Allies also support and intend to join us in suspending CFE Treaty obligations in response to Russia’s actions. Russia’s continued destabilizing behavior undermines the key arms control principles of reciprocity, transparency, compliance, and verification, which have for decades been the bedrock of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture.
Russia’s withdrawal is not expected to have any practical impact on its force posture, given Moscow’s failure to abide by its CFE Treaty obligations since 2007. However, its withdrawal signals a further effort by Moscow to undermine decades of progress made towards building transparency and cooperative approaches to security in Europe. Over the months since Russia announced its intent to withdraw from CFE, the United States and our NATO Allies have consulted closely to take into account the prevailing security environment and the security of all Allies. Russia made clear it had no intention of changing course. As such, we concluded that we should not continue to be bound by a treaty to which Russia is not bound. Suspension of CFE obligations will strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defense capacity by removing restrictions that impact planning, deployments, and exercises.
The United States and our NATO Allies remain committed to effective conventional arms control as a critical element of Euro-Atlantic security. We will continue to pursue measures with responsible partners that aim to bolster stability and security in Europe by reducing risk, preventing misperceptions, avoiding conflicts, and building trust.