The move is one of several incidents involving the Russian military and the United States that came to light on Tuesday. The Pentagon said that Russian planes flew low and fast above an American destroyer in the Black Sea last week in an “unsafe and unprofessional” manner and that a Russian intelligence vessel was detected heading north along the East Coast of the United States.
Known by American officials as the SSC-8, the cruise missile has been in development for years and was most recently tested in 2014.
The Obama administration hoped that Russia would not place the missile in operational status — a violation the INF Treaty, which bans American and Russian intermediate-range missiles based on land.
But according to a U.S. official, Russia now has two battalions of the cruise missile. One is at a test location at Kapustin Yar, a Russian rocket launch and development site near Volgograd. The other was moved in December to another military location in Russia.
“The Russian Federation remains in violation of its INF Treaty obligations,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza in a statement.