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U.S. Set To Approve $4 Billion Patriot-Missile Sale To Romania

U.S. soldiers stand beside a U.S. Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep.

The U.S. State Department says it is ready to approve the sale of Patriot air-defense missile systems worth $3.9 billion to Romania.

"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale to Romania for Patriot air defense systems, related support and equipment," the State Department said on July 11.

The U.S. Congress has 30 days to raise objections to the deal, although this is unlikely since Romania is a NATO ally with important geostrategic access to the Black Sea, where Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, is located.

"Romania will use the Patriot missile system to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats," the State Department said in a statement.

"The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Romanian military to guard against aggression and shield the NATO allies who often train and operate within Romania's borders," the statement said.

The Patriot is a mobile air-defense system made by Raytheon and designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, low-flying cruise missiles, and aircraft.

The possible sale comes as the U.S. military temporarily deployed a Patriot battery in Lithuania as part of multinational NATO exercises in the Baltic country.

Moscow last year deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles into its Kaliningrad exclave, which borders NATO members Lithuania and Poland.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP