Russia has withdrawn from a delegation aimed at discussing conventional arms control in Europe, sending a warning of future hostility toward the West. Meanwhile, the UK foreign secretary said Russia has the potential to pose the greatest single threat to their security.
“We are going to be really hostile.”
Russia pulled out from the Joint Consultative group on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe or CFE on March 10, The Financial Times reported. Russia’s withdrawal left another means for the West to peacefully negotiate arms control with Russia.
Igor Sutyagin, specialist on Russian military at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said that Russia is sending an important message to the West with its departure from the delegation.
“This is a confidence-building measure. What Russia is doing now is undermining confidence, to keep the west nervous and keep it off balance. This is a message to the west that we are not going to discuss our concerns with you, and you will not have a chance to ask us questions. We are going to be really hostile,” Sutyagin said.
The Russian government explained its rationale behind the withdrawal, saying it grew frustrated for the delegation’s failure to develop a new regime of conventional arms control. The government, through its foreign ministry, said meetings with the delegation have turned into sessions of reading accusations against Russia in lieu of the Ukrainian crisis.
Russia Poses Greatest Single Threat To UK’s Security
In a speech given on March 10, UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond said that with the rapid pace with which Russia is seeking to modernize its military forces and weapons, Russia poses the greatest single threat to UK’s security. Hammond outlined how Russian military is increasingly showing aggressive stance by having Russian aircraft circle sovereign airspace of NATO member states.
Hammond said UK and its allies have always sought to have Russia follow the rules-based international system since the end of the Cold War, but to no avail.
“We worked in a spirit of openness, generosity and partnership, to help Russia take its rightful place, as we saw it, as a major power contributing to global stability and order.We now have to accept that those efforts have been rebuffed. We are now faced with a Russian leader bent not on joining the international rules-based system which keeps the peace between nations, but on subverting it,” Hammond said in his speech.
Hammond vowed to continue gathering intelligence on Russia.
He said Russia’s activities and intentions will remain a part of UK’s intelligence effort for the foreseeable future.