The U.S. has "no defense" for the type of ground-launched cruise missile that Russia recently deployed, a top American general told members of Congress on Tuesday.
General John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, warned that the system "can range and threaten most of the continent of Europe" and that "we have no defense for it, especially in defense of our European allies." As first reported by the New York Times, Russia deployed a missile in February — a move which American officials said was in violation of a longstanding arms treaty.
"It is a concern and we're going to have to figure out how deal with it as a nation," he added.
Hyten also confirmed that by deploying the missile, Russia did violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty — which banned land based American and Russian intermediate-range missiles. He argued that the U.S. must deal with Russia from a position of strength and advocated to modernize the force to strengthen the American position.
"A single ground-launched cruise missile is not a significant threat to the United States or our allies," Hyten told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. However, "it shows the beginning of a deployment of a structure that could be a threat in the future."
The Obama administration said in 2014 that the cruise missile in question was tested, according to the Times.