A recently constructed $800 million NATO missile defense base in Romania was switched on to deter rogue states and actors, in particular to intercept any missiles Iran may try to launch.
This has caused Vladimir Putin to accuse the U.S. and its partners of violating an international treaty. Putin claims that the defense base can easily be retrofitted to launch short and mid range missiles into Russia. He warns that a violation of this treaty or any offensive action against Russia could trigger another arms race or a nuclear war.
— “To the music of military bands at the remote Deveselu air base, senior U.S. and NATO officials declared operational the ballistic missile defense site, which is capable of shooting down rockets from countries such as Iran that Washington says could one day reach major European cities.
“As long as Iran continues to develop and deploy ballistic missiles, the United States will work with its allies to defend NATO,” said U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, standing in front of the shield’s massive gray concrete housing that was adorned with a U.S. flag.
Despite Washington’s plans to continue to develop the capabilities of its system, Work said the shield would not be used against any future Russian missile threat. “There are no plans at all to do that,” he told a news conference.” —
The missile defense base was constructed in Deveselu, Romania as part of a plan to construct a comprehensive missile shield in Eastern Europe. Putin claims that, because of the systems ability to be retrofitted to launch offensive cruise missiles, Russia may be forced to “think about neutralizing developing threats to Russia’s security”.
Russian officials argue that the base is a clear violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and threatened to pull out of the deal if the U.S. continues to pursue anti-missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. The INF is an agreement between the U.S. and Russia that eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges.
The system currently uses an advanced network of radar units to track projectiles in the nearby atmosphere. It is designed to launch an interceptor missile to neutralize these threats. U.S. officials are asserting that the system will only protect the area from “rogue” states such as Iran and isn’t capable of handling threats from Russia’s much larger arsenal of nuclear weapons. U.S. officials claim that the base doesn’t break any treaties because the base is incapable of launching offensive missile at this time and is incapable of defending against Russia’s nuclear arms.
Despite threats from Putin and Russia NATO plans on beginning another anti-missile base in Poland. The base is scheduled to be completed in 2018 and will complete the Eastern European section of the shield. Deputy United States defense secretary, Robert Work, stated that there are no plans to strengthen either base to make them capable of defending against Russia.
How do you think the Russian government will respond to claims that the system will not defend against Russia? Share your thoughts in the comment section!