The meeting took place three weeks prior to the NATO Summit of Warsaw, and was aimed at preparing the decisions that are going to be adopted by the heads of state and government. From among these topics, the defence and deterrence posture, the allied presence on the eastern flank and NATO’s commitment in Afghanistan are of particular interest for Romania.
NATO member states have agreed for a rotational deployment of four multinational battalions in each of the Baltic states and Poland, as well as for the establishment of an adapted forward presence in the southeast of the Allied territory; a multinational brigade will strengthen the land force in Romania, the ministry mentioned. Bearing in mind that a battalion consists of around 800-1,000 soldiers, this means that several thousand soldiers could be deployed to Romania.
According to MoD’s release, this brigade subordinated to the NATO Multinational Division Southeast headquarters in Bucharest will provide a framework through which the allied states will be able to affiliate or send forces to Romania, to train for increasing their interoperability. The brigade will thus facilitate NATO training operations in a programme of exercises.
Motoc said that Romania wishes this brigade to be a concrete contribution, to strengthen both the Alliance’s deterrence and defence stance, and regional security and stability.
He added that Romania is having talks with Bulgaria and Turkey on the development of some additional measures to strengthen defence and security in the Black Sea region, with a focus on naval and air defence. Through these measures, Romania hopes to increase coherence with the assurance activities NATO has been carrying out in the Black Sea in the past years through air policing, allied naval exercises and the presence of ships in the region.
The Romanian defence minister emphasized that all these measures have a defensive character, are in accordance with the needs to strengthen national and Allied defence, and are occurring amidst an increase in Russia’s military presence and actions along NATO’s eastern border, including in the Black Sea, following the annexation of Crimea. Moreover, at the same time, the presence adapted for the southeast is consonant with the broader approach by the Alliance, which wishes no confrontation with Russia.
Motoc on Tuesday participated in the Framework Nation Concept (FNC) meeting, coordinated by Germany, alongside counterparts of 15 EU states which are NATO members, Belgium, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, the National Defence Ministry (MApN) reports.
The meeting was chaired by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and was aimed at adopting decisions for the establishment of large units for the support of implementing NATO’s Readiness Action Plan, based on the contributions of the states participating in FNC, as well as in respect to the concrete results of the initiative in view of the Summit in Warsaw.
“Minister Motoc reconfirmed Romania’s consistent commitment within the initiative and presented the country’s initial contribution for the establishment of large multinational units under the FNC aegis, with a combat structure at brigade level and other combat support units,” according to Agerpres.
In turn, the German Defence Minister voiced special appreciation for Romania’s substantial contribution, reiterating its importance for the establishment and operationalisation of a package of forces at the alliance’s disposal, through the involvement of European allies, and for fulfilling the essential missions of NATO, with a focus on collective defence, the release also shows.
DefMin Motoc meets Italian, Bulgarian, Turkish and Ukrainian counterparts
Romania’s Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc on Tuesday took the opportunity to present his Italian counterpart Roberta Pinotti the initiatives of establishing forward NATO presence in the Black Sea region and in Romania, asking Italy’s support to have these initiatives included in the package of decisions to be adopted at the Allied Summit in Warsaw, in July.
According to a release of the Ministry of National Defence (MApN), the two ministers met on the side-lines of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) meeting at defence ministers level. The two officials tackled topics in bilateral defence relations, and the main points and decisions of the forthcoming NATO Summit.
They “pleaded for the need of consolidating the Alliance’s deterrence and defence stance, in order to meet the challenges of the current security environment, including those rooted in the southern flank,” the document reads.
Motoc and Pinotti agreed that bilateral cooperation should be enhanced based on the existing potentials of Romanian and Italian armed forces and within the framework provided by the consolidated strategic partnership of Romania and Italy.
National Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc met on Tuesday his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolay Nankov Nenchev, on the side-lines of the NATO defence ministers’ meeting, with the talks focusing on the strategic topics in the perspective of the Summit in Warsaw, with a highlight on the common proposals for ensuring enhanced forward allied presence at the Black Sea.
According to a National Defence Ministry (MApN) release, the Romanian Defence Minister underscored the need to strengthen bilateral consultations in the period immediately ahead, with a view to establishing the concrete coordinates for creating a strengthened regional cooperation package among the Black Sea states, meant to provide the basis for enhanced presence of NATO forces in the region.
Moreover, the two ministers voiced their satisfaction with the manner in which the strategic importance of the region is reflected in the drafts that are going to be adopted at this ministerial meeting and agreed on speeding up actions of establishing and rendering operational the multinational brigade and the allied command and control structures on Romania and Bulgaria’s territory, thus contributing to the consolidation of the allied defence and deterrence posture, the release reads.
Also, Motoc had a bilateral meeting with his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik. The two officials agreed on strengthening the Romanian-Turkish military cooperation, in accordance with the overall development of bilateral relations under the aegis of the strategic partnership between the two countries. The main areas in view are joint exercises and training activities, mutual support and concrete contributions to rendering operational the allied command and control structures on the two countries’ territories, and cooperation in the defence industry.
The talks focused on the regional security situation and the importance of enhancing the Black Sea’s strategic profile on the allied agenda, in the context of the upcoming Summit in Warsaw, the MApN points out.
The two ministers also tackled the concrete modalities of coordinating bilateral efforts to ensure the conditions for consolidating allied forward presence on NATO’s eastern flank, with a focus on the Black Sea. In this context, the two officials decided to intensify until the summit bilateral contacts devoted to completing the regional package for ensuring the allied forces’ presence in the area, mainly as regards maritime activities.
Romania’s Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc on Wednesday assessed with his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak the security situation in the Black Sea region and emphasised the collaboration possibilities among NATO allied and partner riparian states in the area.
The two ministers talked during the NATO – Ukraine reunion, on the side-lines of a North Atlantic Council (NAC) meeting in Brussels, says a release sent by the National Defence Ministry (MApN).
Motoc restated Romania’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and confirmed the support for the neighbour country’s efforts to strengthen its defence capabilities and boost its partnership with the Alliance.
“The second day of the meeting of the defence ministers of the North Atlantic Alliance member states in Brussels debuted with a meeting in the NATO-Ukraine Commission format, where progress achieved by Kiev in implementing security and defence reforms was analysed, and the Comprehensive Support Package for Ukraine was agreed. The document will be forwarded for endorsement to the heads of state and government, in Warsaw,” says the MApN release.
During their bilateral meeting, the two officials addressed the ways of deepening bilateral strategic dialogue on topics of mutual interest, in the perspective of the forthcoming NATO summit in Poland.
“The two ministers appreciated the progress registered in defence cooperation relations and talked about concrete ways of diversifying and amplifying these relations in the following period, in bilateral and NATO contexts,” the release adds.
Sergey Lavrov: “We do not intend to get involved in confrontation with U.S., NATO and EU”
The measures taken by NATO in order to deter Russia from carrying out in the Baltic States or Poland actions similar to those carried out in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, are not to the Kremlin’s liking. Moscow officials have pointed out several times that NATO’s measures are a threat to Russia.
Such a response was given on Wednesday too, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated in a speech within the State Duma that Russia will not allow itself to be dragged into a confrontation with the U.S., NATO and the EU and will be capable to ensure its security and the security of its citizen in any conditions.
“We do not intend to give into attempts to drag us into a confrontation, not with the United States, not with NATO, not with the European Union,” the head of Russian diplomacy reiterated, adding that “confrontational habits and fruitless geopolitical games only impede efforts to achieve sustainable global development and generate crises like the one in Ukraine,” according to RIA Novosti, quoted by Agerpres.
Referring to the situation in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Minister pleaded for direct dialogue between Kiev on one side and Donetsk and Lugansk on the other, and for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Likewise, Moscow announced on Tuesday that it will adopt countermeasures following NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s announcement that NATO will deploy four battalions, on a rotational basis, to the Baltic States and Poland.
“They can’t scare us with four battalions, of course. These units are not a threat to Russia, because our armed forces are not what they were 20 years ago,” stated Admiral Vladimir Komoedov, former commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, currently Chairman of the State Duma’s Defence Commission.
“Although the trend itself – the growing threat on the country’s western borders – concerns us. (…) We took, are taking and will take countermeasures of a nature that would make everything clear for our partners right from the start,” Komoedov stated for Interfax.
The deployment of these NATO battalions “is contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Russia-NATO Founding Act,” Kelin claims.
Russia and the West are currently experiencing their worst crisis since the end of the Cold War, as a result of Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.