( RIA Novosti ) - President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a law on a temporary suspension of Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, the Kremlin's press service said.
The law has been unanimously approved by both houses of the Russian parliament and will become effective at midnight on December 12.
Russia considers the existing CFE treaty to be discriminatory and outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion.
The original CFE treaty was signed in December 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members. The document set equal limits for the sides on five categories of conventional weapons - battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft and attack helicopters.
The modified version of the arms control treaty, which Western countries consider a cornerstone of European security, was signed on November 19, 1999 by all NATO countries except Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia.
Only Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan have ratified the adapted version of the document. NATO countries have insisted on Russia's withdrawal from Moldova and Georgia as a condition for their ratification of the modified CFE Treaty.
Speaking to reporters in Madrid on November 29 after an annual meeting of the council of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "NATO member countries have literally imposed in 2001 their own moratorium on the adapted version of the CFE treaty."
"Despite the fact that Russia had fulfilled by that time  all its obligations under the so-called Istanbul agreements, they [NATO countries] linked the ratification of the adapted CFE document to Russia's fulfillment of additional conditions, which have nothing to do with the CFE treaty," he said.
Lavrov reiterated that the upcoming moratorium does not stipulate that Russia will permanently pull out of the CFE Treaty, and will resume its implementation as soon as NATO countries ratify the adapted version.
"We are now open to dialogue and a joint search for possible solutions that could lead to immediate ratification of the adapted CFE treaty and revival of the system of control over conventional weapons in Europe," the Russian minister said.