Europe

Romania: US missile defense site to become operational

  • FILE- In this Wednesday, June 8, 2011 file photo, the US Air Force Thunderbirds F16 demonstration squadron performs in Mihail Kogalniceanu, eastern Romania. A U.S. missile defense system aimed at protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats is moving into higher gear this week, with a site in the village of Deveselu, Romania becoming operational on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and officials breaking ground at a separate site in Poland a day later.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

    FILE- In this Wednesday, June 8, 2011 file photo, the US Air Force Thunderbirds F16 demonstration squadron performs in Mihail Kogalniceanu, eastern Romania. A U.S. missile defense system aimed at protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats is moving into higher gear this week, with a site in the village of Deveselu, Romania becoming operational on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and officials breaking ground at a separate site in Poland a day later.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this Tuesday, June 7, 2011 file photo, US Navy 1st Class Petty Officer Jerry Bolton, of Lesley, Michigan, reads a book on the weapons control deck of the USS Monterey, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania. A U.S. missile defense system aimed at protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats is moving into higher gear this week, with a site in the village of Deveselu, Romania becoming operational on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and officials breaking ground at a separate site in Poland a day later.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

    FILE- In this Tuesday, June 7, 2011 file photo, US Navy 1st Class Petty Officer Jerry Bolton, of Lesley, Michigan, reads a book on the weapons control deck of the USS Monterey, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania. A U.S. missile defense system aimed at protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats is moving into higher gear this week, with a site in the village of Deveselu, Romania becoming operational on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and officials breaking ground at a separate site in Poland a day later.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this Tuesday, June 7, 2011 file photo, a US Navy officer of the USS Monterey walks to the weapons command deck of the USS Monterey, as screens display the Black Sea region, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania. A U.S. missile defense system aimed at protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats is moving into higher gear this week, with a site in the village of Deveselu, Romania becoming operational on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and officials breaking ground at a separate site in Poland a day later.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

    FILE- In this Tuesday, June 7, 2011 file photo, a US Navy officer of the USS Monterey walks to the weapons command deck of the USS Monterey, as screens display the Black Sea region, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania. A U.S. missile defense system aimed at protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats is moving into higher gear this week, with a site in the village of Deveselu, Romania becoming operational on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and officials breaking ground at a separate site in Poland a day later.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)  (The Associated Press)

A U.S missile defense site in Romania aimed at protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats becomes operational, angering Russia which opposes having the advanced military system in its former area of influence.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is due to speak at a Thursday ceremony attended by U.S., NATO and Romanian officials to mark the start of operations at a base built by the Soviet Union, some 180 kilometers (110 miles) southwest of Bucharest.

A day later Polish and U.S. officials will take shovels in hand to break ground at a planned site in the Polish village of Redzikowo, near the Baltic Sea.

U.S. officials say the Romanian missile shield which cost $800 million is intended to fend off missile threats from Iran and is not aimed at Russia.