Russia Said To Deploy Cruise Missile That Violates Arms Control Treaty

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is a Cold War-era agreement that bans the deployment and testing of American and Russian mid-range land missiles.

The alleged violation complicates the outlook for US-Russia relations amid turmoil on President Donald Trump's national security team.

According to Toner, Russia is "in violation of its INF Treaty obligations not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles".

He said that "any non-compliance of Russian Federation with the INF Treaty would be a serious concern for the alliance".

US intelligence agencies have assessed that the missile was completed late past year, according to an administration official who required anonymity because he wasn't authorize to speak with the press. "In light of the most recent developments, it is time for the new administration to take immediate action to enhance our deterrent posture in Europe and protect our allies", McCain said.

The move came despite USA complaints that Moscow was violating sections of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

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The alleged missile deployment will likely be high on agendas when US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis attends his first North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

The Obama administration expressed its concern over the test of the missile, then known as the SSC-X-8, in 2014.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona echoed the sentiment, saying the missiles pose a "significant military threat to USA forces in Europe and our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies", and that the move "requires a meaningful response".

Little is known about the SSC-8, but according to Lewis, the missile is probably a ground-based version of the Russians' Kalibr cruise missile.

John Tierney, executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said strategic stability on the European continent is at stake.

The New York Times said President Barack Obama's administration had attempted to persuade Moscow to correct the violation while the missile was still in the testing phase. It also did not clarify when the cruise missiles were actually deployed.

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