The US and its NATO allies in Europe are sounding alarm bells regarding revelations that Russia has deployed a new missile system, and Washington has suggested it is ready to respond with military action if need be.
When asked what the US will do if Russia refuses to withdraw its 9M729 ground-launched missile – which NATO allies say is in violation of the 1987 intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty ban – a top US diplomat said “take it out.”
“The countermeasures would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty,” Kay Bailey Hutchison, the US ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, told reporters in Brussels, according to an official transcript.
“Getting them to withdraw would be our choice, of course. But I think the question was what would you do if this continues to a point where we know that they are capable of delivering. And at that point we would then be looking at a capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America in Alaska,” she added, confirming a US threat to resort to a military strike.
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg indicated that the alliance had formed a consensus that Russia was in breach of the treaty.
“We have looked into this intelligence and we are extremely concerned,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday. “After years of denials, Russia recently acknowledged the existence of a new missile system, called 9M729.
“Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile. All allies agree that the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the treaty,” Stoltenberg added.