Russia has warned it might ignore a major arms control pact after talks with NATO broke up without success. The 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty covers the number of tanks, warplanes and attack helicopters that may be deployed between the Atlantic and the Ural mountains. Most NATO states have refused to ratify an updated version.
After talks in Vienna, Austria, Moscow’s chief negotiator Anatoly Antonov said that to all intents and purposes the treaty is no longer viable. He said Russian security was threatened by the lack of progress on the treaty, as well as the new feelings of trust between the two former enemies. He also accused NATO of not wanting to find a solution.
Relations between the two sides were already strained by arguments over American plans for a missile shield based in the former Warsaw Pact countries Poland and the Czech Republic. Washington insists the missile shield is simply for protection against rogue Middle Eastern states, perhaps Iran.
But Moscow feels NATO is pushing the boundaries too far, and has threatened to re-target European cities with its own nuclear weapons in response.