Monday, March 23, 2015

Romania insists US-led missile system is defensive

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian officials insist a U.S.-led missile defense shield planned for Romania is for protecting NATO members from attacks — not a threat to Moscow.

The comments came after Russia's ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, said warships from the Scandinavian NATO country could become targets for Russian nuclear missiles if it joins the alliance's missile defense system.

In August, Danes agreed to contribute to NATO's shield with at least one frigate with advanced radar capacity. Russia strongly opposes the missile defense system, with bases planned in the Romanian town of Deveselu and Poland.

Romanian Defense Minister Mirce Dusa said Sunday "we don't agree with such a statement ... the anti-missile system is a defense system," echoing comments made earlier by the foreign minister.

NATO also reacted, with alliance spokeswoman Oana Lungescu telling Danish daily Berlingske that NATO has told Russia its missile defense isn't directed against them.

"Denmark is a staunch NATO ally and NATO will defend all its allies against any threat," she wrote in an email, according to the newspaper. "We have made it clear that NATO's missile defense is not directed at Russia or other countries but is intended as a defense against missile threats."

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