U.S. and NATO officials have certified an anti-missile defense site in southern Romania which is scheduled to become operational next year.

Russia has objected to the deployment, but officials insisted that the U.S-led shield is designed to protect NATO members from possible attacks from the Middle East

A joint statement issued Friday by Romania and the U.S. said the "major military components of the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System" in the southern town of Deveselu have been handed over to the U.S. Navy.

Hans G. Klemm, the U.S. ambassador to Romania, said: "It is not, I repeat, not directed at Russia, nor does it have the capability to threaten Russia. We have explained this to Russia on numerous occasions."