The move presents a major challenge for President Trump, who has vowed to improve relations with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and to pursue arms accords.
The missile is said to be in violation of a 1987
treaty that bans American and Russian intermediate-range missiles on
land. A 1987 treaty bans American and Russian intermediate-range ground
In 2014 it was announced the ground launched cruise missile had been tested.
Former US President Obama had previously tried to convince the Russians
to correct the Cold War treaty violation while the treaty was still in
its test phase.Instead, the Russians have moved ahead with the system,
deploying a fully operational unit.
The US administration now believes Russia has two battalions of the banned weapons.
One is still located at Russia’s missile test site at Kapustin Yar in
southern Russia near Volgograd. The other was shifted in December from
that test site to an operational base elsewhere in the country,
according to a senior official who did not provide further details and
requested anonymity to discuss recent intelligence reports about the
American officials had called the cruise missile the SSC-X-8. But the
“X” has been removed from intelligence reports, indicating that American
intelligence officials consider the missile to be operational and no
longer a system in development.
Donald Trump is yet to respond to the violation by Russia.