Russia has stepped up pressure over a key arms control treaty. It is demanding an emergency conference to discuss the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, that limits military deployments across the continent.
The Foreign Ministry in a statement proposed a conference take place from June 12 to 15.
In his last annual address to Parliament as President, Vladimir Putin said Russia would freeze its compliance with the pact until all Nato countries had ratified it. Currently it is one of only four to do so.
“New members of NATO, such as Slovakia and the Baltic States, in spite of our previous agreements with the Alliance, haven’t even joined the CFE Treaty,” President Putin said. “This creates a real danger for us with unpredictable consequences, that’s why I see fit to declare a moratorium on Rusiia’s implementation of the Treaty”.
Putin says he is concerned about US plans to station a missile shield in eastern Europe, which the White House says will offer protection against threats from Iran. But the Kremlin fears it could be expanded to threaten Moscow.
The US and NATO states want Russia to withdraw its forces from Georgia and Moldova, before they will ratify the treaty. But Moscow believes they are taking advantage of the situation to boost their military presence near its borders.