Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 183

Rhetoric from Russia’s Defense Ministry on the subject of NATO enlargement grew hard again yesterday as defense chief Igor Rodionov warned that Moscow would view enlargement as a violation of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and might cease reductions of its own military forces in response. In comments to the press the Russian Defense Minister said that Russia’s "military security will be diminished" in the event of NATO enlargement because "the numerical correlation of weapons and hardware will shift to the advantage" of NATO. The enlargement of NATO will also change the geopolitical situation in Europe and begin the drawing of new dividing lines on the continent, Rodionov said. Such arguments are hardly new, but they are perhaps Rodionov’s most explicit and public endorsement of this line of thinking since his appointment as defense minister on July 17.

The confrontational tone of his remarks yesterday also appeared to contrast with the relatively cordial tone that Rodionov had adopted during recent talks with NATO defense chiefs in Norway. There Rodionov reiterated Moscow’s opposition to enlargement but also its willingness to continue working with the Western alliance regardless of its plans. (See Monitor, September 27) Rodionov also threw his weight yesterday behind an earlier demand by Boris Yeltsin that NATO conclude a political treaty with Russia before it embarks upon expansion. "First, there must be a treaty between Russia and NATO and only later can there be discussion of a project to expand the bloc," Rodionov declared. (UPI, Interfax, Itar-Tass, October 1)

Ukraine Hit by Russian VAT.