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U.S. Could 'Take Out' Controversial Russian Weapon If It Becomes Operational, Envoy Says

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison briefs the media ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting at the alliance headquarters in Brussels on October 2.

The U.S. ambassador to NATO has said that if necessary, the United States would consider destroying a Russian missile system that Washington contends Moscow is developing in violation of a nuclear arms treaty.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on October 2, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison called on Russia to halt development of the 9M729, which the United States says is a violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

"It is time now for Russia to come to the table and stop the violations," Hutchison said on the eve of a meeting between Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his NATO counterparts.

If the system "became capable of delivering," she said, the United States "would then be looking at the capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America."

Russia denies it is violating the treaty, which banned all land-based cruise missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa