Reuters news agency covered the press conference in alarmist terms, opening an article covering the event with, "Russia must halt its covert development of a banned cruise missile system or the United States will seek to destroy it before it becomes operational, Washington's envoy to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said on Tuesday". "All allies agree that the most plausible assessment would be that Russian Federation is in violation of the treaty", Stoltenberg added.
The US envoy to NATO said Tuesday that it might take counter-measures against Russian nuclear-capable missiles with military force if they don't stop building the new weapons accused of violating a 1987 treaty.
Attacking Russia would be a serious issue, whether or not USA officials believe they have a treaty pretext to justify it.
Stoltenberg called on Russian Federation to urgently address concerns that the new system may be in violation of the INF treaty in a substantial and transparent manner, saying that "Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile".
They thus ushered in "what was perceived as a qualitative and quantitative change in the European security situation", according to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The treaty-offending missile, according to Washington, is the Russian 9M729 cruise missile, known to the US military and intelligence community as SSC-X-8 "Screwdriver".
The Western allies have stepped up their military posture, with rotating garrisons in eastern Europe and the Baltic States, in the four years since Russian Federation annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea.
"The question was what would you do if this continues to a point where we know that they are capable of delivering" the banned missiles, Hutchison said.
Indeed, other United States experts have sometimes suggested that a more likely USA response might be to throw over the INF treaty itself and deploy a similar category of weapon.
"We have shown Russian Federation the evidence that we have, that they are violating the treaty", Hutchison said, according to a US-NATO mission transcript of a press conference on the sidelines of the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in Brussels.
This was stated by the US permanent representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison at a press conference in Brussels.
The United States has threatened Russian Federation with a military strike after claiming that Moscow is developing banned cruise missiles.
Then- Pacific Command chief - and now Ambassador to South Korea - Adm. Harry Harris told Congress earlier this year that the treaty is "self-limiting", particularly since "over 90 percent of China's ground-based missiles would violate the treaty".
At issue is a new Russian missile system, called 9M729, which is thought to have a range that falls squarely within the banned distances laid down by the 2987 treaty. That missile has now moved beyond the test phase and has a "fully operational unit", the Times cited US officials as having said.
"We have looked into this intelligence and we are extremely concerned", Stoltenberg told reporters at alliance headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday.