The primary driver of Russia’s hypersonic build-up seems to be missile defense. President Putin said the development of these weapons was directly caused by the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.
About the Author
Akshai Vikram is a former Roger L. Hale Fellow at Ploughshares Fund, where he worked on nuclear nonproliferation and arms control issues, publishing a report on the new U.S.-Russia arms race. Akshai worked at the Democratic National Committee for the 2012, 2016, and 2020 presidential elections; he also worked on a U.S. Senate campaign in his native Kentucky in 2014. He holds an M.A from Johns Hopkins University SAIS and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins Baltimore. On a good day, he speaks Spanish, French, and Persian proficiently.
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