Prime Minister, Victor Ponta has categorically rejected on Thursday “the threats and criticism” from some Russian officials and warned that these gestures do not intimidate and would not determine changes of strategy in Bucharest.
“I categorically reject the threats and criticism by various officials with the Russian Federation! They do not intimidate us and would not change our strategy!” Victor Ponta wrote on his Twitter account.
The Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov on Thursday said that if adjustments are not operated in the plans regarding the location of the anti-missile shield in Europe, then the reasons of this project will become clear, according to RIA Novosti and TASS.
In addition, a Russian top general warned European countries planning to host installations for a U.S.-led missile-defense shield that Russian forces would be forced to target them.
“Nonnuclear powers where missile-defense installations are being installed have become the objects of priority response,” the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, Gen. Valery Gerasimov said, referring to Poland and Romania.
The comments came at a defense conference in Moscow where a series of high-level Russian leaders repeatedly warned of perceived threats that the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization posed to modern Russia.
In response to the comments from Russia, NATO denied having ever moved nuclear weapons into Eastern Europe, and accused Russia of starting to “use its nuclear weapons as a tool in its strategy of intimidation,” writes wsj.ro.
“In response to Russia’s actions, we have increased our military presence in the eastern part of our alliance,” NATO said. “This presence is rotational, defensive, proportional and in line with our international commitments.”
In turn, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu accused NATO of increasing the potential for war in Eastern Europe by practicing “the use of American tactical nuclear weapons deployed in several European countries.”
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson denied that NATO exercises were rehearsing the use of tactical nuclear weapons. “I’m not aware of any of that,” he said in a telephone interview with Wall Street Journal, adding that as chief of U.S. air operations in Europe he would know.
Gen. Roberson was speaking from Campia Turzii, Romania, where U.S. A-10 ground-attack aircraft are exercising with Romanian MiG-21s.
He told wsj.com that the deployment this year of a dozen A-10s with 300 airmen from their base in Arizona is the first of a regular rotation of U.S. air forces into Europe. A detachment of U.S. F-15C air combat aircraft is scheduled to arrive soon, he said.
These rotations were planned before the crisis last year in Crimea, he said, following the drawdown of about a third of regular U.S. forces in Europe. “I don’t expect the Russians to believe that, but it is true,” he said.
DefMin Dusa: With changing political, military situation, security of NATO’s eastern flank highly important
Minister of National Defence Mircea Dusa said on Thursday at the Campia Turzii Air Base that the security of NATO’s eastern flank and of the Black Sea region, under the changing political and military conditions in the area, is highly important.
“The political and military situation in the area has changed a lot and the security on NATO’s eastern flank and at the Black Sea is very important,” said Mircea Dusa, answering questions of the press about tensions escalating in the area.
Journalists asked him about the statements made by Russian officials, according to which Romania could become a target, but Dusa avoided to comment.
“I don’t comment on the statements made by the Russian Foreign Minister, but I specify that the NATO Summit in Wales established the measures to provide reassurance for the eastern flank of NATO and of the EU, through the presence, on a rotational basis, of NATO forces on the eastern flank of the EU and of the North Atlantic Alliance. (…) The Romanian Army, the Ministry of Defence, together with our NATO partners, we implement the reassurance measures on the eastern flank of the Alliance,” said Dusa.
Romania’s Defence Minister Mircea Dusa and Head of the Romanian Army General Staff, Lt. Gen Nicolae Ciuca, attended on Thursday the Day of Distinguished Guests of the “Dacian Thunder 2015” Romanian-US military exercise taking place at the Campia Turzii 71st Air Base.
The “Dacian Thunder 2015” exercise is being conducted March 27 through July 7 at Campia Turzii, with nearly 300 Romanian Air Force personnel – including officers, pilots and technical crew – participating, as well as four MiG-21 LanceR aircraft and six IAR-330 Puma SOCAT and MedEvac helicopters. The US Air Forces have dispatched nearly 350 troops, 11 A-10 aircraft and related servicing hardware.
The exercise is designed to increase interoperability and improve the training level of the Romanian and American personnel by staging joint flights, Agerpres informs.