MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is expected to be held in Romanian Deveselu to mark the operational certification of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system.
"With the activation of the Aegis Ashore missile defence site at Deveselu in Romania on Thursday, our capability is being boosted further – significantly increasing the defensive coverage of NATO territory against medium and short-range missile attacks," Stoltenberg said, as quoted by the Alliance's website.
Stoltenberg added that he was grateful to the Romanian government and nation for the contribution made to the alliance's collective defense.
Under NATO's planned missile defense system, radars and interceptors will be placed in several NATO states, including Romania and Poland. The shield will be strengthened by naval forces.
NATO Planting Missile Defense Systems to Counter Other States' Ballistic Programs — Stoltenberg
On May 12-13, US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Verification and Compliance Frank Rose will visit Romania and Poland to participate in the launching ceremonies related to the NATO Aegis Ashore missile defense system in the two countries.
"The fact is that many countries are developing ballistic missile programmes. And we, as a defensive alliance, cannot ignore that threat. Missile defence is an important tool for NATO’s core task of collective defence… Our goal is to achieve full coverage and protection for NATO’s European Allies against ballistic missile attacks from outside the Euro-Atlantic area," Stoltenberg said, as quoted by the Alliance's website.
According to Stoltenberg, NATO has repeatedly proposed Moscow to cooperate on the issue, but Russia has declined all such offers.
Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the establishment of an US-designed missile defense system in Europe, approved in 2010, during a NATO summit in Lisbon.