US NATO envoy warns Russia against developing new missiles

US NATO envoy warns Russia against developing new missiles
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U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison on Tuesday warned that the U.S. could be forced to "take out" missiles Russia is developing that violate a Cold War-era treaty.

If completed, the 9M729 Russian missile system could give it the capability to launch a missile strike on Europe with little or no notice, The Associated Press reported.

"It is time now for Russia to come to the table and stop the violations," Hutchison told reporters in Brussels.

She added that if the system became operational, the U.S. "would then be looking at the capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America."

Hutchison later clarified that she was “not talking about preemptively striking Russia” in her comments.


The Associated Press reported that Hutchison urged Russia to cease development of the missile system, which fits into a class of banned weapons under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The pact bans countries from developing land-based cruise missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,410 miles. NATO officials have said the nascent Russian system fits into that category, the AP reported.

Hutchison's comments come a day before Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court Former Mattis staffer: Trump 'shooting himself in the foot' on foreign policy MORE is scheduled to meet with other NATO officials. Mattis said he intends to bring up the missile issue during the meeting, the AP reported.

Concerns over the missile system mark the latest sign of tensions between Russia and the rest of the world.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia after the intelligence community determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Multiple Russians have since been charged in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's investigation into election meddling.

The United Kingdom determined that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy on British soil earlier this year, prompting the U.S., the U.K. and other countries to expel Russian diplomats.

Other countries have expressed concerns about potential Russian aggression, particularly after Russia forcibly annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Norway earlier this year requested additional U.S. troops to be stationed near its border with Russia. 

-Updated 3:23 p.m.