Belarus to pull away from Europe conventional forces treaty already abandoned by Russia

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — The authoritarian president of Belarus on Friday said the country would suspend participation in the troubled Conventional Forces in Europe treaty that once was a key security doctrine for the continent.

President Alexander Lukashenko introduced a bill calling for the suspension to the parliament, which is fully under his control.

The treaty, signed in 1990, places limits on tanks, combat vehicles, warplanes and heavy artillery that can be deployed in Europe. It aimed at keeping a military balance between the West and the countries that were part of the Cold War-era Warsaw Pact.

However, Russia withdrew entirely from the treaty in 2023 and NATO countries that were parties to it responded by suspending their participation. By standing aside from the treaty, Belarus could expand its military.

“The suspension of Belarus’ participation in the CFE Treaty affects the balance of power and security in the entire Euro-Atlantic region and sends a signal to Western countries that Minsk intends to become an active military player in the region,” Belarusian military analyst Alexander Alesin told The Associated Press.

Belarus hosts Russian tactical nuclear weapons, along with missiles and troops. The country has been used by Russia as a staging point for sending troops into Ukraine, but Belarusian forces have not taken part in the war that is now in its third year.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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