Today, the Russian Federation withdrew from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). The combination of Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty and its continuing full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine – another CFE State Party – has fundamentally altered circumstances that were essential to the CFE States Parties’ consent to be bound by the treaty, and radically transformed the obligations under the treaty. In light of this fundamental change of circumstances, the United States will suspend the operation of all CFE Treaty obligations between itself and every other State Party, effective December 7, consistent with our rights under international law.
This decision to suspend our obligations under the CFE Treaty was taken in close consultation and coordination with our NATO Allies, many of whom are also CFE Treaty States Parties. A number of our CFE partners that are not members of NATO also support suspension of CFE Treaty obligations in response to Russia’s actions.
As reflected in the statement issued at NATO Headquarters today, our Allies unanimously share our view that a situation where the United States and our NATO Allies continue to be militarily constrained by the CFE Treaty, while Russia – whose armed forces are the largest in Europe, and who continues to actively wage a war of aggression against Ukraine using the very forces the treaty aims to constrain – is not, would be unacceptable. Suspension of CFE obligations will strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defense capacity by removing restrictions that impact planning, deployments, and exercises – restrictions that no longer bind Russia after Moscow’s withdrawal.
While Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty further demonstrates Moscow’s continued disregard for arms control, the United States, our NATO Allies, and our responsible partners remain committed to effective conventional arms control as a critical element of Euro-Atlantic security. We will continue to pursue measures that aim to bolster stability and security in Europe by reducing risk, preventing misperceptions, avoiding conflicts, and building trust.