Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 124

A senior Russian Foreign Ministry official said on background yesterday that Russia would be unable to comply fully with the obligation to reduce its land forces in Crimea in accordance with the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). The official argued that those land troops form an integral part of the Black Sea Fleet and that any cuts in BSF forces are subject to Russian-Ukrainian negotiations. The official dismissed Ukraine’s recent complaints that the apparent suspension of the withdrawal of Russian land troops from Crimea would prevent Ukraine against its will from fully honoring its commitments under CFE. (9)

The official’s remarks add to recent indications that Moscow is seriously considering keeping at least some land troops in Crimea, despite earlier understandings with Kiev. The main units are the coastal defense division, which was to have been disbanded this October, and the marine infantry brigade, which was due to relocate to Russia by November. Both moves did begin in recent months but appear to have been suspended. The two units have significant holdings of armor, artillery, and combat helicopters, all subject to cuts under CFE.

Azerbaijan Also Disqualifies Parties From Election.