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Putin greeting military officers at the Kremlin today (ITAR-TASS)
July 25, 2007 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed criticism of his decision to withdraw from a key arms control treaty, saying the pact was outdated.
Putin signed a decree on July 14 suspending Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) pact, which limits military deployments on the continent.
He said today that the treaty, originally signed in 1990, "has clearly come to contradict reality."
"The original treaty came from the time when there were two blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Now, most of the East European countries are members of NATO," Putin said. "The Baltic states and some of the Balkan countries have not signed the amended treaty at all. Under the old version of the treaty the three Baltic states are viewed as the [Soviet] Baltic Military District. Should I perhaps appoint one of you as their district commander?"
The treaty was revised in 1999 to reflect the end of the Cold War.