Russia could boost forces after CFE freeze: MP

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia could build up military forces near its western borders after suspending its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty on December 12, a senior member of parliament said on Thursday.

“It is possible in the future, no one is ruling this out if things develop in a worst case scenario, that there could be a review of certain levels of armaments,” Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the outgoing parliament’s foreign relations committee, told a news conference.

President Vladimir Putin last month signed a law suspending Russia’s participation in the 1990 treaty. The pact limited the number of battle tanks, heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters deployed and stored between the Atlantic and Russia’s Ural mountains.

NATO parties to the pact have not ratified the original treaty, or its amended version adopted in 1999 to take into account the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

Russia has rejected Western demands to withdraw troops from ex-Soviet Moldova before NATO members ratify the CFE treaty. It has already pulled its forces out of Georgia in the Caucasus.

Kosachyov said, however, that no military buildup was imminent.

“I repeat that according to the explanations we received (from the Russian military) this is not some kind of immediate aim,” he said.

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