The US Navy has commissioned a missile-intercepting defense base in southern Romania on Friday as part of a new and controversial NATO missile shield in a move that has infuriated Russia as NATO reinforces its presence in Europe.
“The Deveselu facility will be a crucial component in building up NATO’s overall ballistic missile defense system and the base will be operational and integrated into the NATO system by the end of 2015,” Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary-General was quoted as saying by Stars and Stripes.
Of the two European land-based interceptor sites the second will be based in Poland. The Polish facility is to be completed by 2018 and will play host to around 24 vertical launch SM-3 missiles.
“Today's ceremony is an important milestone as we improve our ballistic missile defense capability in Europe,” US Rear Admiral John Scorby, the newly appointed commander of the Deveselu base told reporters on Friday.
US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller stated: “What we are initiating here today is a powerful and tangible manifestation of our solemn commitment to mutual security in Europe.”
Russia has criticized the project claiming it as aiming against its own ballistic missile arsenal.