Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg and NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana on Friday travelled to the 57th Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base as part of the arrival in Romania of 1,000 US forces of the Stryker battalion.
Iohannis and Stoltenberg had private and public talks. Afterwards, they met the troops stationed at the military base, toured an exhibition of military equipment, and held a joint news conference where they pointed out that the presence of NATO troops in Romania conveys a message of NATO unity.
“The presence of NATO troops here in Romania is so important. Because that sends unwavering and ironclad message of Alliance unity, that we are here together that we stand united. And of course, the presence of US troops at this base in Romania sends a very strong message of US North American commitment to European security,” said Stoltenberg.
In response to a question about a further Russian invasion in Ukraine, Stoltenberg warned that there was a real risk because what we see now is that the military build-up in and around Ukraine continues so there is a real risk for a new armed conflict in Europe. “The number of Russian troops is going up and the warning time is going down,” he said
“We are only 200 miles away from the illegally annexed Crimea. We also share over 400 miles of our northern and eastern borders with Ukraine. We therefore perceive the current security threat in a clear manner. Romania has been constantly involved in ensuring Euro-Atlantic security, as a significant contributor to the implementation of NATO’s objectives. Your presence here is a testament to NATO solidarity and cohesion, and a strong demonstration of the United States’ strong commitment to Romania as its strategic partner,” said Iohannis.
He added that Romania is very well defended and has all the security guarantees it needs.
“No Romanian should worry, but we need to know where this security of ours comes from, what the security guarantees are. First of all, our armed forces – which have developed enormously in recent years – are very well prepared. In addition, Romania is a member of the NATO alliance, the strongest military alliance in all of history. In order to come to our aid, we have these soldiers that we greeted today, here at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base, and others who came from strategic partner countries, from our allies, to work together with the Romanian military,” said Iohannis.
The chief of state pointed out that ensuring a consolidated deterrence and defence posture in a uniform and coherent manner on the entire Eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, contributes to regional stability and also to the security of the NATO as a whole and its citizens.
“Regardless of current developments in the region, NATO must maintain its high capacity for deterrence and defence, which will enable it to effectively fulfill its strictly defensive objectives for which the Alliance was established. In addition to these measures to strengthen the Allied presence, we are advocating the need to continue the political and diplomatic dialogue with Russia in order to find solutions that will allow the situation to be de-escalated, without compromising the fundamental principles of NATO and international law. We start from the clear premise that the current crisis does not stem from possible structural problems of the existing security architecture, but from non-compliance with some of its essential provisions. Romania was and is very diplomatically involved in the NATO and European decision-making process related to the current crisis, given its geographical position and its strategic interest in NATO Eastern Neighborhood and the European Union being stable,” said Iohannis.
He reiterated Romania’s support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, and for the right of these countries to build a future based on their own European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
The US Department of Defence announced last week that 1,000 US forces would be repositioned from Germany to Romania. The first components of military equipment of the US battalion that will be called Task Force Cougar, arrived at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base. TF Cougar will be made up mainly of 2nd Squadron / 2nd Cavalry Regiment soldiers, who will use Stryker armoured personnel carriers, and additional troops of other specialties from the regiment’s battalions (artillery, engineering, support).
Jens Stoltenberg: The Black Sea region is of vital strategic importance for NATO
Romania is not alone, and the presence of NATO troops sends out a message of the Alliance’s unity, said on Friday the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, at the 57th Air Base in Mihail Kogalniceanu, Constanta county.
Speaking of the arrival of an additional 1,000 US servicemen, he said that it “is a powerful demonstration of transatlantic unity,” emphasizing “North America’s ironclad commitment to the defence of Europe”.
The Black Sea region is of “vital strategic importance” for NATO, Stoltenberg also said in a joint press conference together with President Klaus Iohannis.
Stoltenberg also stated that the Allies are open to finding a political solution with Russia in regards to the Ukrainian crisis, but NATO will not make any compromises on key principles, such as the right of each nation to choose its own path and the right of the Alliance to defend all its members.
“There will never be first class and second class Allies in NATO, (…) here are only NATO Allies. United as one,” said the NATO Secretary General.
“From here, in the Black Sea region, all the way to the Baltic, Allies are stepping up to reinforce NATO’s presence at this critical time, with more troops, more capabilities and greater readiness,” Stoltenberg added.
“Next week, NATO defense ministers will meet and discuss how we can further strengthen our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, including with battle groups. I welcome France’s offer to lead a NATO battle group here in Romania,” he added.
Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO is a defensive alliance and that its task is to preserve peace.
He also said that the Black Sea region has strategic importance for NATO and that three of the Alliance’s member-states are riparian to the Black Sea, as well as important partners such as Ukraine and Georgia.
Answering a question from the press, he warned that there is a “real risk” of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, because Moscow continues to increase the number of troops around Ukraine.
“The military build-up continues. We’ve seen the threatening rhetoric from the Russian side and we know there are many Russian intelligence officers operating inside Ukraine and then, of course, we have the track record of Russia using force against Ukraine before,” Stoltenberg added.
All these are reasons for “being seriously concerned and being vigilant and ready to react if they once again use force against Ukraine,” he said.
“That’s why the presence of NATO troops here in Romania is so important. Because that sends an unwavering and ironclad message of Alliance unity. That we are here together, that we stand united and, of course, the presence of US troops at this base in Romania sends a very strong message of US-North American commitment to European security,” the NATO head said.
President Iohannis: Romania is very well defended and has all the security guarantees in place. No Romanian should be afraid
Romania is very well defended and has all the security guarantees, President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday at a press conference delivered jointly with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the ‘Mihail Kogalniceanu’ 57th Air Base.
“Romania is very well defended and has all the security guarantees in place. No Romanian should be afraid, but we need to know where this security comes from, what the security guarantees are. First of all, our armed forces – which have developed enormously in recent years – are very well prepared and ready for any scenario. Moreover, Romania is part of the NATO Alliance, the strongest military alliance in history. Coming to our aid we have these servicemen we welcomed here today, at the ‘Mihail Kogalniceanu’ Base, and others deployed from strategic partner states, from allies, to work together with the Romanian forces,” said the head of the state.
The President stressed that NATO is a purely defensive alliance.
“We don’t want to attack anyone, we don’t want to invade anyone, but we want to guarantee the security of our states and the security of our citizens, and act consequently!,” Iohannis underscored.
The President also reiterated that the Deveselu missile shield is a purely defensive facility.
“It cannot be used to attack anyone. This rhetoric we hear from time to time is false, the Deveselu capability is part of a broader NATO missile defense system and in this sense we have nothing to hide or refrain from saying. Once again, Romania is a safe country,” Iohannis underscored.
U.S. military presence in Romania, proof of NATO solidarity and cohesion
President Klaus Iohannis stressed on Friday that the U.S. military presence in Romania is proof of NATO’s solidarity and cohesion and a clear demonstration of the United States’ commitment to our country as a strategic partner.
“Romania has been consistently involved in Euro-Atlantic security, is a significant contributor to the achievement of Euro-Atlantic objectives. Your presence here is proof of the Alliance’s solidarity, cohesion and a clear demonstration of the United States’ commitment to Romania as a strategic partner,” Iohannis told a press conference on Friday delivered jointly with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the ‘Mihail Kogalniceanu’ 57th Air Base.
The President told the servicemen at the Kogalniceanu Base that the Romanian people are grateful to U.S. President Joe Biden for sending American troops to Romania, noting that our country is clearly aware of the current security threat.
“We are just 200 miles from the illegally annexed Crimea. We also share 400 miles of our northern and eastern borders with Ukraine. We therefore perceive the current security threat in a clear manner. Romania has been constantly involved in ensuring Euro-Atlantic security, as a significant contributor to the implementation of the Alliance’s objectives. Your presence here is proof of allied solidarity and cohesion and a strong demonstration of the United States’ strong commitment to Romania as its strategic partner,” Klaus Iohannis said.
The head of the state added that the presence of the American troops is also a continuation of the excellent cooperation between the American and Romanian armed forces that fought together in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It is a continuation of our common efforts to defend fundamental democratic principles and values, to ensure stability and a better and more secure future,” President Iohannis added.
He also thanked the Italian and German troops present in Romania.
“I want to express our gratitude to other NATO allies who contribute to the multinational structures stationed in Romania. I take this opportunity to greet and thank the Italian and German troops present today here at the ‘Mihail Kogalniceanu’ Air Base. This is a word of appreciation for each of you. Let me commend you for your personal efforts in serving your country and our Alliance, and let me thank you for your determination and professionalism, for your commitment and courage. You will find the same professionalism and dedication in the ranks of the Romanian Army. As you already know, you can fully rely on them,” the head of the state added.
Iohannis stressed that NATO is the “key” to lasting peace, stability and prosperity in Europe and the entire Euro-Atlantic zone.
“During your mission, you must always keep in mind that your efforts are part of the efforts of the largest and most successful military alliance in history. We are all part of that and we should always remember that we are NATO and that is the key to lasting peace, stability and prosperity in Europe and throughout the Euro-Atlantic area,” Iohannis told the troops at the ‘Mihail Kogalniceanu’ Air Base.
Compiled from Agerpres