Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration has pulled the country out of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe — a pact that places limits on the deployment of military equipment.
Putin on Monday signed legislation into law to withdraw Russia from the treaty, after it was approved by both chambers of parliament. The Russian government announced its intention to withdraw earlier this month.
The treaty, signed in 1990 by NATO and the then-Warsaw Pact, set a cap on the number of conventional weapons that the Cold War rivals could possess, in order to balance power between them. Russia ratified the pact in 1999, but suspended its implementation in 2007 amid a feud with NATO.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Monday said the treaty had already ceased to function, so the decision wouldn’t have any impact.
Peskov said a large vacuum is developing in the area of arms control and strategic stability and that the gap needs to be filled urgently. But he stressed that Russia is not to blame for the situation.
In February, Russia announced that it would suspend the New START treaty, a nuclear arms reduction pact with the United States.
The latest move is seen as an attempt by the Putin administration to put further pressure on Western countries that are ramping up their military support for Ukraine.