The United States is considering the deployment of ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe in order to counter Russia’s measures in Ukraine, according to a new report.
The Associated Press reported on Thursday that the decision was made after Russia allegedly violated a nuclear treaty.
The US accuses Russia of violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Moscow denied the allegation and said the testing of a ground-launched cruise missile in July 2014 was in compliance with the INF treaty.
The Obama administration announced that it has three options for the treaty violations.
The options are defenses to stop a treaty-violating missile, the "counterforce" option to attack a missile preemptively and the "countervailing strike capabilities" option that implies the potential use of nuclear forces, the report said.
The "counterforce" option also means the potential deployment of ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe, said Pentagon official Brian McKeon.
Russia says the US missile plans are a real threat not only to Russia but also to the whole world, adding the missile systems harm the strategic balance of forces across the globe.
Warships of the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 take part in a military drill on the Black Sea, March 16, 2015. (AFP Photo)
Despite economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, critics in Washington say the Obama administration’s policy has been a failure.
On Friday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will meet with top American defense and diplomatic officials in Germany about Washington’s strategies against Moscow.
They will also discuss the expansion of military exercises or beef up assistance to other countries in the region.
Amid increasing tensions in the region, the US and its NATO allies will begin new military exercise in the Baltic Sea on Friday.
The drills known as BALTOPS involve about 50 ships from 17 countries for 15 days, featuring anti-submarine warfare, air defense, interception of suspect vessels and amphibious landings.
This is while US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Wednesday threatened Russia with more costs over new developments in eastern Ukraine.
“Any new attack or aggressive action by combined Russian-separatist forces is unacceptable and contravenes the Minsk agreements. Russia bears direct responsibility for preventing these attacks and implementing a ceasefire. Any attempts to seize additional Ukrainian territory will be met with increased costs,” she told reporters.