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Russia Suspends Cold War Arms Treaty
Associated Press  |  November 16, 2007
MOSCOW - Russia's upper house of parliament voted to suspend compliance with a key Cold War treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe, Russian news agencies reported.

The unanimous vote in the Federation Council, or senate, followed last week's vote in the lower house, the State Duma, to leave the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty from December 12.

General Yury Baluyevsky, Russia's chief of the general staff, described the move as "the correct, logical step from the political and military point of view," ITAR-TASS reported.

But NATO has criticised Russia's withdrawal from the 1990 CFE, which places strict limitations on deployment of tanks and other hardware across Europe.

The move comes amid deteriorating relations between Moscow and countries of the Atlantic alliance as President Vladimir Putin pushes to reassert Russia on the international stage.

Putin and other top Russian officials this year have renewed long-distance strategic bomber patrols, as well as threatened to retarget nuclear missiles at European cities and withdraw from other bedrock disarmament treaties.

Moscow says the CFE is not working because an updated version agreed on in 1999 has not been ratified by any country other than Russia.

NATO members, led by the United States, say they cannot ratify the pact because of Russia's military presence in ex-Soviet Georgia and Moldova.

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