by Staff Writers
Bucharest (AFP) Oct 10, 2014
US Rear Admiral John Scorby was Friday named commander of a base in Romania that will form part of a NATO ballistic missile shield system which has drawn Russia's ire.
The Deveselu base in southern Romania is slated to be operational next year. It will house SM-3 interceptor missiles and radar equipment.
"Today's ceremony is an important milestone as we improve our ballistic missile defence capability in Europe," said Scorby, commander for the Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia.
"Our continued close work with our Romanian partners exemplifies how crucial our European allies are to building up NATO's overall ballistic missile defense system," he said.
NATO's 28 members decided in 2010 to create a missile shield based on US technology. The project is due to be completed in 2020, with installations in Romania and Poland.
The Western military alliance insists the role of the planned shield is a "purely defensive" response to external threats, notably from so-called "rogue states", and is in no way directed against Russia.
But Moscow has taken a dim view of the project, seeing it as a security threat on its very doorstep.
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