Russia on Tuesday finalised its pullout from a key Cold War-era security deal, more than eight years after announcing the intention to do so, the Foreign Ministry said.
The development came after both houses of the Russian parliament approved a bill proposed by President Vladimir Putin denouncing the Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Putin signed it into force in May this year.
The treaty aimed at preventing Cold War rivals from massing forces at or near mutual borders was signed in November 1990, but not fully ratified until two years later. It was one of several major Cold War-era treaties involving Russia and the United States that ceased to be in force in recent years.
Russia suspended its participation in 2007, and in 2015 announced its intention to completely withdraw from the agreement.
In February 2022, Moscow sent hundreds of thousands of Russian troops into the neighbouring Ukraine, which also shares a border with NATO members Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.
On Tuesday, the ministry said the process of the formal withdrawal from the treaty has been completed, without elaborating what that entailed. It blamed the US and its allies for the withdrawal and the West's allegedly destructive position on the treaty.
We left the door open for a dialogue on ways to restore the viability of conventional arms control in Europe," it said. "However, our opponents did not take advantage of this opportunity.
The statement further said that even the formal preservation of the treaty has become "unacceptable from the point of view of Russia's fundamental security interests," citing developments in Ukraine and NATO's recent expansion.