US threatens Russia it could ‘take out’ missiles in dispute


The US warned that it could resort to strikes against a new class of Russian missile unless Moscow complies with its international commitments to arms reduction.
NATO defense ministers on Wednesday were expected to discuss their concerns that Russia is building a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, US Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said.
Russia has over “several years” refused to accept US evidence of breaches, so “we need to look for other ways to bring Russia to the table on the issues,” Hutchison told reporters in Brussels ahead of the meeting. “The countermeasures would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty.” The US ambassador made an “absolutely irresponsible statement,” the Interfax news service cited the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying.
“It looks like people who make such statements don’t realise the degree of their responsibility and the danger of aggressive rhetoric,” Tass quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying. “Our military experts will give a detailed answer,” Zakharova said, according to Tass.
The US envoy later clarified that she wasn’t advocating a preemptive strike against Russia. “I was not talking about preemptively striking Russia. My point: Russia needs to return to INF Treaty compliance or we will need to match its capabilities to protect US & NATO interests,” she said in a tweet.

‘Crucial’ Treaty
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization issued a statement in December underscoring the so-called INF Treaty’s “crucial” role in ensuring security for 30 years by “‘removing an entire class of US and Russian weapons”— ground-launched intermediate-range missiles—and calling on Russia to address “serious concerns” about a missile system identified by NATO members.
“Now this treaty is in danger because of Russian actions,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a parallel briefing in Brussels. He cited development of a new ground- launched cruise missile known as 9M729, whose existence Russia only recently acknowledged “after years of denials.”
Stoltenberg called on Russia to urgently address concerns that the new system may be in violation of the INF treaty in a substantial and transparent manner, saying that “Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile.”
Hutchison said that “numerous occasions” had been recorded of Russian breaches, and called on Moscow to stop the violations. Russia is “on notice,” she said.
If Russia continues down the path to where they are capable of delivering, “at that point we would then be looking at a capability to take out a missile that could hit any of countries in Europe and hit America in Alaska,” Hutchison said.

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