BRUSSELS — NATO member countries that signed a key Cold War-era security treaty froze their participation in the pact on Tuesday just hours after Russia pulled out, raising fresh questions about the future of arms control agreements in Europe.
Many of NATO's 31 allies are parties to the Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which was aimed at preventing Cold War rivals from massing forces at or near their mutual borders. The CFE was signed in November 1990 as the Soviet bloc was crumbling but was not fully ratified until two years later.
NATO said that Tuesday's action by its signatory members was required because “a situation whereby Allied State Parties abide by the Treaty, while Russia does not, would be unsustainable.”
Earlier in the day, Moscow said it had finalized its withdrawal from the treaty. The long-expected move came after both houses of the Russian parliament approved a bill proposed by President Vladimir Putin denouncing the CFE.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said suspending the obligations by Washington and its allies will strengthen NATO's “deterrence and defense capacity by removing restrictions that impact planning, deployments, and exercises -– restrictions that no longer bind Russia after Moscow's withdrawal.”
Russia's actions “further demonstrates Moscow's continued disregard for arms control,” he added.
The German Foreign Ministry underscored that Berlin…