WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. senator from Nebraska is calling for a firm response, if Russia has violated a Cold War-era treaty by deploying a cruise missile system.
Sen. Deb Fischer, chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, say the missiles would be illegal under the Intermediate – Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
“Russia’s deployment of a prohibited nuclear cruise missile system is a clear escalation in threatening behavior. Reports of this illegal system first surfaced in 2008, and, since that time, the U.S. has failed to impose meaningful consequences on Russia for its actions.
Turning a blind eye to Russia’s blatant violation of its treaty is dangerous and has not made our country safer. A firm response is necessary, including steps to ensure Russia does not derive a military benefit from this illegal behavior.”
U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that the missile became operational late last year.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that “compliance with arms control agreements is of great importance and especially when it comes to treaties covering nuclear weapons.”
He said that “any non-compliance of Russia with the INF Treaty would be a serious concern for the alliance.”
His remarks in Brussels came before chairing the first meeting of NATO defense ministers with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.