Magazine article Arms Control Today

Russian Compliance with CFE 'Flank' Limit in Doubt

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Russian Compliance with CFE 'Flank' Limit in Doubt

Article excerpt

WHILE REMAINING within overall weapons limits under the 1992 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, Russia is suspected of not being in compliance with its revised "flank-zone" limits on armored combat vehicles (ACVs), which entered into force on May 31. Until a July 1 information exchange takes place, an official judgment on Russian compliance cannot be made, but Moscow has failed to meet earlier interim limits. On June 1, NATO called on all CFE countries to fulfill current legal obligations.

The treaty's flank zone, which will be retained in the "adapted" accord now under negotiation among the CFE states (see ACT, March 1999), limits the tanks, ACVs and heavy artillery located in Europe's northern and southern regions. Russia, one of 12 countries with territory in this zone, has persistently sought to increase, or abolish, its flank limits. Moscow contends the limits unfairly constrain Russian weapons deployments on its own territory, where serious security threats, like Chechnya, exist.

In a move to address Russian concerns, CFE parties renegotiated Russian flank limits in May 1996 so that the original limits of 1,300 tanks, 1,380 ACVs and 1,680 artillery would apply to a smaller area. New limits of 1,800 tanks, 3,700 ACVs and 2,400 tanks would apply to the original flank territory. Both sets of limits entered into force on May 31.

While at or near flank limits for tanks and artillery, Russia is reportedly in excess of ACV limits in the smaller, revised flank zone by roughly 1,500 and in the larger, original zone by several hundred. …

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