Any attempt by the United States to take out Russian cruise missile systems would lead to a larger military confrontation between the two nuclear powers, says an analyst.

“This is a very extreme situation that could lead to World War III,” American writer and academic James Petras told Press TV on Tuesday after Washington’s ambassador to NATO warned Russia to halt development of a banned cruise missile system or the US would seek to destroy it before it becomes operational.

“At that point, we would be looking at the capability to take out a [Russian] missile that could hit any of our countries,” , Kay Bailey Hutchison told a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday

Washington claims Moscow is violating a Cold War treaty and developing a ground-launched cruise missile which could empower Russia to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice. Russia has repeatedly denied any such violation.

“The US and Israel have decided that the Russian defense system is subject to attacks particularly be the Israelis with the US support,” Petras said.

If the Russian missile systems come under attack by the Israelis, Russia will retaliate at a minimum by shooting down Israeli planes that intrude into Syria, he pointed out.

That could prompt Israel to further retaliate, forcing Russia to bomb the Israeli lunch pads, he noted. “If Russia retaliates against Israeli aggression, the US has claimed that it would intervene on behalf of Israel.”

“This would lead to a conflict that involves the US and Russia, and this could lead to a nuclear confrontation that would spread throughout the Middle East.”

The United States has threatened to launch a preemptive military strike against Russia if it does not halt developing a banned cruise missile system.

 

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it viewed Hutchison’s statement as dangerous.

“It seems that people who make such statements do not realize the level of their responsibility and the danger of aggressive rhetoric,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to TASS news agency.

The accusations over the Russian missile system are likely to further strain relations between Washington and Moscow, which are already at a low over Ukraine, the bombing campaign in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in US elections.

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