Since the early 21st century, the United States and its NATO allies have refused to impose restrictions on the number of national weapons in Europe. That was covered by the Adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe which signing by NATO members and post-Soviet countries in 1999 was initiated by Russia. The Adapted CFE Treaty also assumed that any other European might accede thereto subsequently.
The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) concluded in 1990 between two groups — 16 NATO members and 6 Warsaw Pact members — remains in full force and effect. The treaty determined the number of weapons for each of the blocs and did not envisage the blocs’ expansion. The treaty aimed to reduce the threat of the confrontation between the two blocs escalating into an armed conflict. Developed during the Cold War, the CFE did not take into account the military and political changes that occurred on the continent after its signing, including the accession of the majority of WP members to NATO, which led to the alliance exceeding the weapon limits set by the CFE.
NATO has disrupted Europe’s military balance envisaged by the CFE. After the dissolution of the WP and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the alliance expanded its combat capabilities and invited 16 more states to join it, including Eastern European states (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia), post-Soviet states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), Western Balkan states (Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia), and neutral states (Finland has already become a NATO member, while Sweden’s accession is pending approval).
Thus, NATO has shifted its combat potential closer to Russia. Moscow has ratified the Adapted CFE Treaty on the transition from the bloc arms limit to the national arms limit. However, none of the NATO members being a party to the CFE did so. The Baltic countries refused to join it as full member states, although their territories were previously included in the CFE area. Western Balkan and neutral states have never participated in the CFE.
The dissolution of the WP was not followed by the dissolution of NATO. Having not ratified the Adapted CFE Treaty, its members showed their disinterest in improving the security of all European states, regardless of whether them being or not parties to the alliance. Moreover, NATO has created a “gray zone” along the line of contact with Russia, using the states that have joined the alliance without being bound by any restrictions on weapons deployment on their territory. Ukraine did not confirm the ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty, and the alliance pushed Kyiv to abandon its non-bloc status to join it.
NATO’s above actions primarily aimed to expand the military infrastructure in the vicinity of Russian borders with rapprochement with Ukraine and arming it became the reason for Moscow to withdraw from the CFE. NATO has destroyed the arms limitation regime in Europe, destabilized the continent’s security situation, ignited the Ukrainian conflict to the war scape, and dragged the whole of Europe into it.
Europeans need peace and prosperity, not war and destruction. The Europeans do not need the North Atlantic Treaty which divides the European states into its participants and the rest, i.e., into those who have and those who do not have security guarantees, which turns the parties into potential opponents of each other. The Europeans need a common European security treaty for all the countries of the continent.