Analysts fear that the collapse of the historic agreement could lead to a new arms race between the United States, Russia and China. Now that they are on the rise, disarmament agreements could play an important role in maintaining stability. “The end of this treaty would lead Russia and the West into a much more violent Cold War confrontation than we experienced in the 1980s,” says Vladimir Dvorkin, an arms control specialist at the Official Institute of Global Economics and International Relations in Moscow. “It would be completely unacceptable, disastrous for everyone. Europeans would find it difficult to forgive the United States if the agreement failed. It would therefore be really appropriate to make serious diplomatic efforts to restore stability before it is too late. Russia denies violating the agreement and has expressed its own concerns about its compliance with Washington. Moscow accuses the United States of setting up an anti-missile launch system in Europe, which can also be used to fire cruise missiles, using anti-missile targets with characteristics similar to those prohibited by the CFI treaty and producing armed drones equivalent to the cruise missile launched on the ground. “This will probably increase the threat of ballistic missiles, not reduce it,” he added, calling on all parties to “seek agreement on a new common path for international arms control.” Negotiations on the FN treaty showed progress when Mikhail Gorbachev became Soviet Secretary General in March 1985. In the fall of the same year, the Soviet Union presented a plan to balance the number of SS-20 warheads with the increasing number of medium-range allied warheads in Europe.
The United States expressed interest in the Soviet proposal and the scope of the negotiations was extended in 1986 to all U.S. and Soviet medium-range missiles around the world. President Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev began to move forward with the momentum of these talks towards a comprehensive agreement on the elimination of medium-range missiles. Their efforts culminated in the signing of the FN Treaty on 8 December 1987, and the treaty entered into force on 1 June 1988. In its July 2014 compliance report, the United States stated for the first time that Russia was violating FSF treaty obligations to “not possess, produce or test cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres” or “not to possess or produce launchers of these missiles.” Subsequent U.S. State Department assessments in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 reiterated those claims.