( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's unilateral moratorium on a major arms reductions treaty in Europe came into force immediately after midnight on Wednesday.
The law to freeze Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was unanimously approved by the parliament and signed on November 30 by President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow considers the original CFE treaty, signed in December 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members, to be discriminatory and outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion.
Russia has been pushing for a new adapted version of the treaty. However, NATO countries have insisted on Russia's withdrawal from Moldova and Georgia as a condition for their ratification of the modified document.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement early on Wednesday that Russia would not immediately increase the strength of its Armed Forces along its borders, but would not hesitate to do so if the need arises.
"During the temporary suspension of Russia's participation in the CFE treaty, the country will not be bound by limitations [under the treaty], including by 'flank limitations', on the number of deployed conventional weapons," the statement said.
"At the same time, we do not have plans to amass and concentrate these weapons on the borders with our neighbors," the document said.
The ministry said Russia could resume its participation in the treaty shortly after NATO countries ratify the adapted version of the CFE treaty, signed on November 19, 1999 by all NATO countries except Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia.
Only Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan have so far ratified the adapted version of the document.
The moratorium "is justified politically, is legitimate, and allows Russia to resume its participation in the treaty by presidential decree if our [NATO] partners show their political will [by ratifying the adapted document]," the statement said.