Construction starts on US base in Romania

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From left US Vice Admiral James D Syring, Romanian President Traian Basescu , US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James N Miller, and Romanian Defense Minister Mircea Dusa shovel sand during the official ground breaking ceremony of an U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense base in Deveselu, Romania, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. US and Romanian officials marked the start of construction work at a Romanian air force base in southern Romania that will host radar and interceptor missile systems, part of the US-NATO missile shield for Europe.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

DEVESELU, Romania (AP) — Construction has begun on a U.S. base in Romania that will form part of a ballistic missile defense system that has angered Russia.

The Deveselu base in southern Romania is expected to be operational in 2015. It will house SM-3 interceptor missiles and radar equipment.

James Miller, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, attended a ceremony Monday at the base.

He said that "as the (NATO) Alliance has entered new times, it has also addressed new threats. One of these is the threat of ballistic missile attack."

The U.S. government says the missiles will have no offensive capability and will only target incoming ballistic missiles launched by a hostile country.

Russia considers the interceptors a threat and has cited them in blocking cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.