Romania’s Foreign Affairs Ministry rejects the statements of the Russian Federation’s Foreign Ministry regarding the allied military presence on NATO’s eastern flank as “inappropriate and baseless”.
In a statement on Friday, the Foreign Ministry reiterates that NATO’s presence in allied states, which is the result of top-level decisions made by allied leaders and implemented by the competent allied political and military structures, is a strictly defensive response to the increasingly aggressive behavior of the Russian Federation in the Eastern Neighborhood, especially since 2014, when the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was illegally occupied by Russia.
“The escalation of this behavior continues today, despite NATO’s attempts to engage in constructive dialogue,” the Foreign Ministry says, pointing out that the demand for the deployment of NATO forces in all Alliance states that joined after 1997, including troops, to be reduced according to Moscow’s requirements is already listed among Russia’s European security proposals released in December 2021.
“This request has already been unequivocally rejected as unacceptable by the North Atlantic Alliance, both publicly and as part of the NATO-Russia and US-Russia dialogue. Such a request is inadmissible and cannot be subject to negotiation, given that the deterrence and defense posture is directly connected with, and is an intrinsic part of NATO’s collective defense mechanism no third country can veto upon. The allies have firmly stated that they will further strengthen their security and collective defense policy, including through the presence of allied troops in the territory of the Eastern allies,” the cited source said.
It goes on to note that together with its allies, Romania will continue to strongly support with arguments based on security developments in the Eastern Neighborhood, the importance of strengthening the Eastern flank, which is why the Romanian authorities welcomed the recent announcements by the US and France about plans to place troops in Romania as part of the allied deterrence and defense posture.
“At the same time, Romania expresses its hope that the dialogue opened with the Russian Federation during this period will continue and will lead to the de-escalation of the security situation, to the benefit of the entire Euro-Atlantic area,” the Foreign Ministry concludes.
The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation has announced on Friday that the security guarantees that Russia is trying to obtain from the West include the stopping of enlargement of the military bloc and its return to its 1997 borders, as well as the departure of NATO forces from countries that adhered after this year, among them Romania and Bulgaria.
DefMin Dincu: There is no need at this moment for Romania to prepare for war
Defence Minister Vasile Dincu said on Friday in western Timisoara that there is no need at this moment for Romania to prepare for war, because “it is not the case for Romania to go to war, as sometimes we see it in fake news.”
“This is not the case, and I would like to say it so that the public knows very well that it is not the case for Romania to go to war, as we sometimes see in fake news. Two days ago, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said NATO will not react militarily to the Russian Federation’s intervention in Ukraine, because under the NATO Treaty it can only intervene if a member state is threatened. Ukraine is not currently a member of NATO, but there will certainly be other forms of reaction that the international community will have,” Dincu said.
He added that a possible conflict at the border also requires some preparations on the part of our country, but pointed out that Romania is not bracing up for war.
“So we don’t have to prepare for war right now. But when you have a conflict on or near the border, you always have to be prepared, because there are a lot of side effects. There is a possibility of migration because of the war. That situation needs to be managed, and there are other economic issues, because any blockade, for example, of the economy and the Russian Federation has an impact on banks, on energy, on energy supply in Europe, and so on. (…). We prepare for any such instance,” said Dincu.
On Friday, Dincu toured the Arad and Timisoara garrisons.
Additional NATO military presence in Romania, an older demand of Eastern Flank states
The Minister of National Defense, Vasile Dincu, said on Friday in western Timisoara that the announcement made by the US and France, which showed their willingness to strengthen their military presence in Romania, is “good news”, as requests of this kind have existed for a long time from some countries on NATO’s Eastern Flank.
“It is good news for us, because it is a request that does not only depend on this event (the crisis at the Russian-Ukrainian border, ed.n.), but is older, of the President of Romania, which he expressed at all meetings and of the Foreign Minister. Many countries on the Eastern Flank have expressed this request to fortify us in this area. It is about doing exercises together, but here it is also about joint action with forces from important NATO countries,” Vasile Dincu said.
Minister of National Defence stressed that the addition of the NATO military presence in our country has, first of all, the significance of rejecting some requests of the Russian Federation regarding the renunciation of the military presence of Alliance in Central and Eastern Europe.
“This contradicts by deeds this request to withdraw. Through this, NATO’s countries have shown that they are not withdrawing, but are intensifying their presence there,” Dincu said.
He said that this additional NATO military forces on the Eastern Flank also has a symbolic meaning, because Russia would have tried, through its propaganda, to show that “there is a dissension between NATO and the European Union, that these countries do not understand each other and that in fact NATO is not a very good defender of the EU”.
According to Minister Dincu, it is also a strong signal sent to the countries of the Eastern Flank, that the Alliance is concerned about the security of each member, this being also “a response against the propaganda that tried to accredit the idea that NATO will not have the operational capacity if the countries need it”.
Dincu also said that the addition to the NATO military presence in the area is also a response to the concern of public opinion on the Eastern Flank, “showing that we are in solidarity and NATO stands in solidarity and all countries act, when needed, in consensus, for the security of each member”.
DefMin Dincu says Russian Federation is trying to draw new Iron Curtain
Minister of National Defense Vasile Dincu declared on Friday evening, in western Arad, with regard to the latest developments related to Russia, Ukraine and NATO, that the Russian Federation “is trying to draw a new Iron Curtain”, a new form of division of spheres of influence.
Dincu was asked by journalists, during his visit to Arad, if we are witnessing a new attempt to divide Europe.
“Of course the Russian Federation is trying to draw a new Iron Curtain, that is clear, but in fact it is a new form of division of spheres of influence, this is what is happening worldwide. (…) New types of treaties, new provisions between countries, between existing politico-military blocs must be drawn up from time to time. I believe this year is a crucial year, during which we are seeing history in the making,” said the Minister of National Defense.
Asked if our country requested additional guarantees from the allies, Vasile Dincu said that “Romania no longer needs to ask for additional guarantees, because it is a member of the most important politico-military alliance at this moment”.
As regards Russia’s demand for NATO forces to withdraw from Romania and Bulgaria, the Minister of Defense considers that “this is not a demand that can be taken into account”.
“There is nothing new, this demand has been rejected several times. NATO is not negotiating the withdrawal from the area, and, what’s more, it is consolidating its forces as required by the peoples feeling threatened, on the Eastern Flank. From my point of view, it is the best answer, it is NATO’s practical answer to this demand that we deem impossible to accept,” Dincu specified.
He added that “when you ask the North Atlantic Treaty to give up all developments since 1997, it is an absurd demand” and that in his view “it is more of a negotiation request, because it has no logical or strategic support.”
“We have an action and endowment program of the Eastern Flank alongside NATO and we are preparing for any eventuality, but there is no danger, even if the Russian Federation is talking about it,” Vasile Dincu stressed.
NATO Deputy SecGen Geoana rules out any negotiation of NATO military presence on member-state territory
Deputy Secretary General of NATO Mircea Geoana has ruled out on Friday any possibility of negotiating the military presence of NATO on the territory of member-states, after Russia has requested all foreign troops, armaments and heavy military equipment be withdrawn from the countries that have joined the alliance after 1997, mentioning Romania and Bulgaria explicitly.
The list comprises 14 countries in the former communist bloc.
“Our answer has been and remains as clear and as transparent as before: there is no way to negotiate, to compromise the military posture of NATO on the territory of NATO countries. It’s NATO’s business where and in what configuration, depending on the security needs, we deploy our military presence in NATO countries,” said the official on his Facebook page.
“It’s not the problem of the Russian Federation, just as we don’t tell the Russian Federation where to place or not place its own forces in its own territory. What we are saying to the Russian Federation is that it is totally anachronistic and it is a return in historical time to complicated areas of European history – the idea that you can threaten with military incursion a neighboring, sovereign, independent and democratic state in Europe,” added Mircea Geoana.
“This is truly the red line, not the one that the head of diplomacy in Moscow is saying,” the NATO official insisted.
Compiled from Agerpres