American officials believe Russia began conducting flight tests of a missile, prohibited by the INF treaty as early as 2008. The U.S. informed NATO of Russia’s treaty breach in January 2014. At that time the particular missile type was not yet disclosed. This dispute between Russia and the U.S. was not solved and finally the Trump administration, with its open dislike for bilateral or multilateral agreements constraining the USA, drew its own conclusions.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the 1st of February 2019 announced the U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty, an agreement which eliminated ground-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and missile launchers in the 500 – 5 500 km range. Legally, the INF treaty would be terminated six months later. The decision was widely feared to lead to an arms race and the following day, Russia reacted with an equivalent decision.
In this briefing, Dr. Stefan Forss describes the nuclear arms race between the U.S and the Soviet Union preceeding the START and INF treaties. Furhermore, he explains the events leading up to the withdrawal of the INF treaty and the implications of this on geopolitical stability.
Dr. Stefan Forss is former Chief Scientist at the Finnish Technical Research Centre and advisor to the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Policy and Research Unit. In 2014 he was awarded the tile title of Professor by the President of Finland in recognition of a distinguished career spanning four decades.