Russian President Vladimir Putin has suspended his country's participation in a European arms control treaty.
The Kremlin said on Saturday that Mr. Putin signed a decree suspending Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. It limits the number of tanks, heavy artillery and combat aircraft that can be deployed or stored in Europe and western Russia.
NATO reacted by calling Russia's decision a step in the wrong direction. A NATO spokesman James Appathurai said the allies consider the treaty an important cornerstone of regional stability.
The original treaty was signed in 1990. It was revised in 1999 after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.
Russia has ratified the revised agreement, but the United States and NATO countries have not. They say Moscow has not honored its commitment to withdraw troops from the ex-Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.
In announcing his country's suspension of participation, Mr. Putin cited NATO members' delay in ratifying the 1999 treaty revision.
The treaty calls for a 150-day notice period before any member can withdraw. Russia's Foreign Ministry said Moscow is open to further dialogue on the issue.
Moscow's move comes a day after the US Senate voted in favor of proceeding with the development and deployment of a missile interceptor system in Eastern Europe aimed at preventing possible nuclear attacks from Iran and North Korea.
Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern about U.S. plans to build defense missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.