Russia Deploys New Missiles, Testing Trump

USA officials say the deployment is such a blatant violation that it calls into question the value of future arms control treaties with Russian Federation. Signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty bans missiles that can fly between 300 and 3,400 miles.

The existence of the SSC-8 missile is not new. Reports indicate that the nuclear-capable missile was first tested in early 2008.

"The missile has been several years in development, so it is not a surprise", said Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Instead, the Russians have moved ahead with the system, deploying a fully operational unit.

The Obama administration accused Russian Federation of violating the treaty in 2014, when the country tested what is thought to be the same missile recently launched.

"The administration is undertaking an extensive review of Russia's ongoing INF treaty violation in order to assess the potential security implications for the United States and its allies and partners", State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. According to the Tuesday report in the New York Times, the Russian have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile.

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This is no doubt a testing moment for the Whitehouse as president Trump's administration has to deal with the situation in the absence of a national security advisor.

NBC has reached out to the White House for comment on Russia's deployment of a cruise missile and the Russian ship roaming off the US east coast. The Kalibr is a ship- and submarine-launched missile capable of carrying about 1,000 pounds of conventional explosives or a nuclear warhead. According to the Times, each battalion is believed to have four mobile launchers and a larger supply of missiles.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona echoed the sentiment, saying the missiles pose a "significant military threat to USA forces in Europe and our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies", and that the move "requires a meaningful response".

Senator Tom Cotton shares McCain's concern as well, recommending that the U.S. nuclear forces in Europe be built up in light of Russia's violations.

  • Phil Peters