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Putin halts Russian implemention of Europe arms treaty citing NATO 'build up'

[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] said in a speech [text, in Russian; text, in English] to both houses of the Russian parliament Thursday that he was putting Russia's implementation of the terms of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty [text; backgrounder] on hold in the face of what he called a US-led NATO military "build up" in Europe, and would "look at the possibility of ceasing our commitments under the CFE treaty" if there was "no progress in the negotiations" with the US and NATO on deployment of weapons systems. Putin accused NATO countries not respecting the terms of the the treaty, "building up military bases on our borders and, more than that....also planning to station elements of anti-missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic."

The CFE Treaty, concluded in 1990 by the 22 members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact, regulates deployment of non-nuclear forces in Europe. Putin said Russia's moratorium would continue "until all countries of the world [sic] have ratified [the treaty] and started to strictly implement it." Putin's speech, described as "hawkish" by observers, follows a controversial address in Munich earlier this spring in which the Russian leader criticized what he called the "dangerous" use of force by the United States [JURIST report] around the world in defiance of international law. Reuters has more.

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