Presidential spokesperson denies Russia conflict claims

Presidential spokesperson Valeriu Turcan on Tuesday denied that President Traian Basescu spoke of “any direct involvement of the country in a military conflict with Russia,” as claimed in a WikiLeaks cable published by online daily ‘Gandul.’ The newspaper said that the US embassy cable, describing an August 2008 meeting between Basescu and US Senator Richard Lugar, mentioned the head of state voicing worries that Romania could have been drawn into a military conflict with Russia over Transdniester.

The meeting was held in the wake of the Russian-Georgian conflict, which made Basescu say that if Russia tried something similar in Moldova, Romania would be required to have a military response, “with broad implications for EU and NATO.” “We don’t know if the text in the cable is authentic or not. The meeting with Senator Lugar was public and transparent. Under no circumstances did the Romanian president speak of any direct involvement of the country in a military conflict with Russia,” Turcan said.

In his turn, President Basescu made a brief remark on the matter on Tuesday evening, after new Minister of European Affairs Leonard Orban was sworn in. After Orban’s speech, Basescu moved away from the microphone and told journalists, laughing, that Romania in 2008 “had only a few long-range slingshot batteries and was ready to declare war.”

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