10:14 May. 12, 2016
Moscow considers the project "a threat to the national security"
The United States launches its missile defence shield at a remote air base in Deveselu, Romania on Thursday, May 12. The shield, proposed by Washington almost a decade ago, is aimed at protecting NATO members from potential rocket attacks from the so-called "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea, according to Reuters.
"We now have the capability to protect NATO in Europe. The Iranians are increasing their capabilities and we have to be ahead of that", Robert Bell, a NATO-based envoy of U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, said in an interview.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is expected to attend the launch.
The project goes live in Europe amid high tensions between Russian and the West. The Kremlin is concerned the missile shield could be used against it.
Despite U.S. assurances, Moscow claims the shield's real goal is to neutralize its nuclear arsenal long enough for Washington to make a first strike on Russia in the event of war. Russian officials call this move "a mistake and a treaty violation that directly affects the country's national security".
"Ballistic missile defence sites could pose threats to the stability and strategic assets of the Russian Federation," Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, said in an interview with Reuters.
U.S. officials call Moscow's statement "strategic paranoia". "The shield is not aimed against Russia", Robert Bell stated.
Earlier the United States announced its plans to construct another missile defence system in Poland.