Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 95

At meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission on Disarmament, held September 12 at CIS headquarters in Minsk, several countries announced that they would be unable to reduce their conventional hardware to the levels mandated by the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) before the upcoming deadline. Ukrainian delegates said that their country wished to honor its commitments but was unable to do so because the dispute over the division of the Black Sea Fleet remains unsettled. Part of the hardware subject to elimination on Ukrainian territory remains under Russian, rather than Ukrainian control; and that Ukraine faces a security problem which may need to be addressed outside the CFE treaty. Kazakhstan said that it was unable to honor its commitments owing to economic and technological problems. Belarus announced that it would shortly resume the hardware scrapping operations, which were suspended by President Lukashenko in February for lack of funds. (16)

Russia continues to pose by far the largest question mark over the treaty’s implementation by openly challenging the ceilings on hardware deployed in flank areas, particularly the Caucasus. The intervention in Chechnya has increased Moscow’s armor and artillery holdings in that flank area very far above CFE treaty limits, eliminating any prospect of compliance when the five-year period allotted for scrapping operations expires in November 1995. But Moscow had openly demanded exemption from the limits set for the Caucasus long before the Chechnya war. In Ukraine, part of the hardware subject to elimination remains instead immune, being under Russian control through the Black Sea Fleet and its associated land-based units; and it potentially confronts Ukraine with a security problem which may need to be addressed outside the CFE treaty. In Belarus, the government appears to condition the resumption of scrapping operations on German and/or European Union funding which German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel held out last month as a possibility, short of a commitment.

Zhirinovsky on Russian Politics.