U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told lawmakers that the U.S. and its allies have "no defense" against recently deployed Russian cruise missiles, according to AFP.
During a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hyten raised concerns over ground-launched cruise missiles positioned by Moscow. The missiles have been deployed in the Volgograd region as well as a second, unidentified site, according to the New York Times.
"We have no defense for it, especially in defense of our European allies," said Hyten. "That system can range and threaten most of the continent of Europe depending on where it is deployed. ... It is a concern and we're going to have to figure out how to deal with it as a nation," he added.
The ground-launch missiles deployed were considered a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by the Obama administration when the missiles were tested in 2014. The 1987 treaty bans land-based intermediate-range missiles.
Russian officials have claimed they are not in violation of the treaty, blaming instead the United States for non-compliance. Hyten did highlight that Russia is cooperating with another treaty known as New START. That pact requires Russia and America to reduce the number of deployed warheads to 1,550 by February 2018.
Hyten also raised concerns over Russia's overall modernization efforts of its nuclear arsenal. He additionally warned of growing threats to American military and intelligence satellites, citing Russian and Chinese efforts to target U.S. spacecraft in the event of armed conflict.