Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 136

Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev claimed yesterday that changes sought by Russia to the CFE Treaty also take into account the "interests" of certain former Soviet republics. First Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Col. General Vladimir Zhurbenko, in turn, predicted that some CIS countries would ask for an extension of the compliance deadline. The General Staff’s international cooperation section chief, identified as Col. General Dmitri Kharchenko, specifically stated that not only Russia but also Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia will be unable to meet their CFE treaty obligations on schedule. (7)

These remarks suggest that, in order to continue escaping treaty-mandated cuts, Moscow wants its own combat hardware deployed in at least some of those countries. In Ukraine, for example, the hardware of Russian land units belonging to the Black Sea Fleet has escaped the cuts because Russia claims to count that equipment toward Ukraine’s CFE quota. In Moldova, the Russian ex-14th Army, renamed the Operational Group of Forces, possesses all the battle tanks and most armored vehicles which form Moldova’s CFE entitlement under the CFE treaty, and other hardware on top of that. Russian forces in Georgia and Armenia have massive combat hardware inventories in addition to Russia’s quota for its southern flank. While international attention focuses on the problem of Russia’s southern flank, Moscow breaches the CFE treaty outside its own territory as well, in areas directly relevant to that flank.

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