[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] formally suspended Russia's participation [press release] in the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty [text; backgrounder] Saturday, signing a presidential decree prohibiting NATO inspection and verification at Russian military facilities as well as ending conventional weapons limitations. Russia said the step was necessary due to "extraordinary circumstances," a reference to US plans to locate parts of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which Russia perceives to be a threat to Russian national security because it erodes Russian nuclear deterrence.
In April, Putin told both houses of the Russian parliament that he was informally suspending Russia's implementation of the CFE Treaty [JURIST report] due to what he called a US-led NATO military "build up" in Europe, and said at the time that he would explore the possibility of ending Russia's commitments under the treaty. The CFE Treaty, concluded in 1990 by the 22 members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact, regulates deployment of non-nuclear forces in Europe. AP has more.