WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In March, Hyten accused Russia of deploying a ground-launched cruise missile in violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"A single ground-launched cruise missile is not a significant threat to the United States or our allies," Hyten stated in a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "It shows the beginning of a deployment of a structure that could be a threat in the future."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov replied that Moscow was in full compliance with the INF Treaty despite US claims to the contrary.
In the testimony on Tuesday, Hyten said the alleged breach was a concern for Washington and added the deployment of significant number of similar ground-launched cruise missiles can threaten the United States.
"We have no defense for it, especially in defense of our European allies," Hyten noted.
Russian has stated it was the United States that violated the INF as it activated the Aegis ashore ballistic missile defense system in Romania last year. The system is equipped with the Mk-41 launcher, which Russia considers capable of launching Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles.