On Tuesday, the Russian seizure of three Ukrainian Navy vessels was expected to be the dominant topic at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. The subject of nuclear weapons
was also on the list of topics with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo intent on drumming up support among NATO countries for the contention that Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).
Back in October, President Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of that treaty due to Russia's lack of compliance. That news was greeted with concern in Europe where NATO
has credited the INF Treaty as being crucial in ensuring security over the past 30 years. The agreement eliminated all short and medium-range nuclear and conventional missiles as well as their launchers.
Even though Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw, questions have been raised about whether he can actually remove the country from Senate-approved treaties without Congressional approval. Despite the uncertainly surrounding the fate of the INF Treaty, a senior State Department official said that the U.S. wants to "stay in sync" with its European allies.
After Trump made his intentions clear in October, experts warned that it could lead to the most serious arms control crisis since the 1980s. The following infographic uses Federation of American Scientists data
to show that those warnings are not unfounded. It provides an overview of U.S. and Soviet/Russian nuclear arsenals since the 1950s. Treaties such as the one signed in 1987 have proven vital in reducing the number of nuclear weapons controlled by the Americans and the Russians.