Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva (left) confirmed longstanding suspicions that Russia’s new intermediate-range missile was operational. He told a House Armed Services Committee hearing this week that it can threaten almost all of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Russia has deployed new nuclear missiles and violated the “spirit and intent” of a landmark Cold War arms-reduction treaty, a top Pentagon commander says.
Now President Trump and leaders in Washington must decide what to do about it.
On Wednesday, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed longstanding suspicions that Russian’s new intermediate-range missile was operational. He told a House Armed Services Committee hearing this week that it can threaten almost all of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“The system itself presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe and we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” he said.
It was the first official, public assertion that the missile, known to have been tested for years, is fully operational.
Under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Moscow and Washington agreed to eliminate all their land-based nuclear missiles that could hit targets within 3,400 miles.
On Thursday, Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, denied Selva’s assertion. “We disagree with and reject any such accusations,” he told reporters in a conference call. “Russia has adhered to and will adhere to all its international obligations, including those under the INF Treaty.”