CHISINAU (Sputnik) — On Thursday, US and Romanian officials, including the prime minister, are taking part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Romanian commune of Deveselu, some 100 miles west of Bucharest, to mark the operational certification of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system, which is a land-based component of the US-designed ballistic missile defense system for Europe.
"The facility in Deveselu fully respects the provisions of the UN Charter and it is not directed against anyone in particular. It is a tool designed exclusively for self-defense from ballistic missile threats. It strengthens the ability of the NATO missile defense system and expands the coverage of protection for its allies in Southern and Central Europe, reducing the risk of future ballistic missiles attacks from outside the Euro-Atlantic area," Ciolos said at the ceremony, as quoted by the Romania TV broadcaster.
According to Ciolos, the security environment in Europe continues to face challenges and threats, such as the renewal of frozen conflicts as well as the emergence of new ones.
"This fact confirms the strategic importance of the Black Sea region for the security in the Euro-Atlantic area," Ciolos added.
Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the creation of the ballistic missile defense system in Europe, approved in 2010 during a NATO summit in Lisbon. A group of European countries, including Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey, agreed to deploy elements of the system on their territories.
The United States and NATO continue to claim that the ballistic missile defense system is aimed primarily at countering threats from Iran and North Korea.