US General Says Russia Deploys Cruise Missile, Threatens NATO Idrees Ali, Reuters:  Russia has deployed a land-based cruise missile that violates the “spirit and intent” of an arms control treaty and poses a threat to NATO , Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva said on Wednesday.

It was the first public U.S. accusation of the deployment after reports said last month that Russia had secretly deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile that Moscow has been developing and testing for several years, despite U.S. complaints that it violated sections of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

“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,” Selva said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. He did not say if the missile carried a nuclear weapon.

From Robert Burns, AP:  Selva said he sees no indication that Moscow intends to return to compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bans an entire class of weapons — all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,410 miles). The treaty was a landmark in arms control in the final years of the Cold War….

Asked how the U.S. might respond now that the cruise missiles are deployed for potential use, Selva said the military is preparing a set of options to be considered this year by the Trump administration as part of a broader nuclear policy review.

Selva said he could not publicly discuss those options. When pressed he said the plan is to “look for leverage points to attempt to get the Russians to come back into compliance,” adding, “I don’t know what those leverage points are.”

The Obama administration had accused Moscow of violating the INF treaty, but Selva’s statement was the first public confirmation of recent news reports that the Russians have deployed the nuclear-capable cruise missile.

The New York Times, which was first to report the Russian missile deployment, said last month that the Russians have two battalions now in the field. One is at a missile test site at Kapustin Yar and one was moved in December from the test site to an operational base elsewhere in the country. Russia denies that it has violated the INF treaty.

Image: Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva Sept. 17, 2015 (photo: Sgt. Sean Harp/Department of Defense)