by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the Aegis Ashore operationalisation ceremony
This is an important day for NATO and for transatlantic security.
The Aegis Ashore site in Romania we have just inaugurated will further boost our ability to counter the threat we face from ballistic missiles.
The threat to NATO Allies from missiles outside the Euro-Atlantic area is real.
Several countries are seeking to develop or acquire them.
Our missile defence programme represents a long-term investment against this long-term threat. NATO Allies made the decision to develop this system at the Lisbon Summit in 2010. And we have been making steady progress since then.
Our system is not directed against Russia. It is purely defensive. And it will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence. Geography and physics make that impossible. The NATO system cannot shoot down Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles from here in Romania or from Poland.
Our system is designed to tackle threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.
We have made this clear to Russia many times.
And we will continue to engage in dialogue with Russia when and where we can.
Keeping channels for communication open is even more important in times of tensions.
Ballistic missile defence is an important part of NATO’s defence and deterrence.
Because NATO will defend all Allies against any threat.
And we will take further steps to do so at our Summit in Warsaw in July.
So let me once again thank the United States and Romania for their key contribution to our collective defence.