. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Misses CFE Deadline To Destroy Tanks, Hardware

Russia confirmed that it had missed a New Year deadline for destroying thousands of tanks and other military hardware beyond the Ural Mountains and said three other former Soviet republics also failed to meet the treaty commitment.

General Dmitry Kharchenko told Interfax on Monday that Moscow wanted to push the Dec. 31, 1995 deadline pledged by the Soviet Union in 1991 back to the end of 1998.

The delay was purely economic, said Kharchenko, who is the army staff officer responsible for international military cooperation. "About 100 billion rubles ($20 million) in today's money is needed to destroy the weapons transported beyond the Urals," he said.

Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan also missed the deadline because of a shortage of funds, he said.

The Soviet Union agreed to the deadline on June 14, 1991 in a compromise which cleared the way to ratification of the Conventional Forces in Europe, or CFE, treaty.

Kharchenko said the equipment to be destroyed beyond the Urals included 6,000 tanks, 1,500 armored vehicles and 7,000 artillery systems.

Of these, 1,264 tanks, 685 armored vehicles and 3,453 artillery systems had been destroyed by the end of 1995. "There's no base for the destruction in the Urals region so the equipment has to be transported to other regions," he said.

Kharchenko said the destruction of the hardware would not affect Russia's military capabilities because it was all old. "Destroying weapons is an expensive procedure," he said, adding that Russia was not prepared to accept the West's suggestion that tanks be filled with concrete rather than dismantled because they would lose their scrap value.

Russia has been in violation of the CFE treaty since November, when it was due to have completed the agreed reductions of its military strength on its borders. It failed to do so, mainly because of arms it has sent to the southern region of Chechnya to fight separatists.