BRUSSELS — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday said Russia’s deployment of nuclear-capable missiles in violation of an arms treaty is “untenable” and unless Moscow changes, the U.S. will have to match that military capability.
Speaking to reporters at the close of a NATO defense ministers meeting, Mattis said the U.S. is reviewing its diplomatic and military options because of Russia’s continued violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Associated Press News reports.
“Russia must return to compliance with the INF Treaty or the U.S. will need to respond to its cavalier disregard of the treaty’s specific limits. Make no mistake: The current situation, with Russia in blatant violation of this treaty, is untenable.
There was no disagreement about the fact that the Russians were in violation here among the nations.
We will respond as we think is appropriate. But we are trying to bring them still back into compliance. Now is the time. It’s gone on long enough” ~ SOD Mattis
The U.S. envoy to NATO on Tuesday said that Russia must halt development of new missiles that could carry nuclear warheads and warned that the United States could “take out” the system if it becomes operational.
NATO fears the 9M729 system contravenes the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF. The Cold War-era pact bans an entire class of weapons — all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500-5,500 kilometers (310-3,410 miles), and the alliance says that the Russian system fits into that category.
“It is time now for Russia to come to the table and stop the violations, the U.S. would then be forced to looking at the capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America. There will come a point in the future in which America will determine that it has to move forward with a development phase that is not allowed by the treaty right now.” ~ U.S. Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison
NATO and it’s allies can no longer sit idle as Russia creates nuclear warheads and cruise missiles that can deliver the destructive payloads with very little warning.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.