Washington, D.C., United States—The U.S. has threatened to destroy the covert development of a banned medium-range cruise missile if Russia doesn’t immediately cease the program.

According to a Cold War treaty, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the ground-launched missile is unlawful. The INF forbids medium-range cruise missiles that could be used to strike either Europe or Alaska. In 2017, the State Department released an investigation accusing Moscow of violating its treaty obligations. More specifically, the report found a dual violation: First, that the Russian military was developing a medium-range missile (SSC-8) with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (roughly 310 to 3,400 miles); and second, that it was also developing launchers that could propel such a weapon.

The missile would allow Russia to conduct a nuclear strike against Europe in a very short notice, leaving little time for the European or American defences to respond.

Kay Bailey-Hutchison, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, said that America favours a diplomatic solution to the international issue. She cautioned Russia, however, that this shouldn’t be perceived as a weakness for the U.S. military stands ready to destroy the program if it doesn’t cease.