National Defence Minister Vasile Dincu on Thursday said that the NATO Battlegroup that will be stationed in Romania, together with those in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary, will mean extra troops on Romania’s soil, a deterrence force, nevertheless a force that is not meant to attack Russia or enter a military conflict.
According to Minister Dincu, these battle groups are the decision of the European Union and NATO, bringing to mind the significance of the NATO Summit in Brussels.
“The significance of this summit is also important as, for the first time, we have a union between NATO and the European Union, a collaboration, a partnership that is very important, for which Romania has militated for years. With the activation of the NATO response force, there have been established four battlegroups in Poland and in the Baltic countries, as at the moment that was regarded as the most fragile area, so to speak, in terms of European security, Back then we insisted and the President has been doing so since 2016 that the Eastern Flank be also strengthened in the southern area, in Romania’s area, in the Black Sea area as well. It has happened now and it is one of the great gains, in my opinion. Four more battlegroups will come to Europe, this means in the first place that Romania will have another battlegroup, of round 1,000 troops. The number is not precise, the volume, it also depends on the specialisation of the military to come, on the type of arms they come with. Obviously, already trained troops will come, and they will enter in the system of collaboration with the Romanian Army, a system that has been tested in Afghanistan, in very many applications,” Vasile Dincu told Digi 24 private television broadcaster.
He also explained what activities the military in the NATO battlegroup that will come to Romania will carry out.
“They will obviously conduct joint applications with the Romanians, with the other NATO forces. We shall work together on defence strategies, joint training strategies, all that is related to defence. These battle groups are not meant to attack Russia, they are not meant to enter a military conflict, they are meant to defend and the be a force of deterrence in the first place, because this is in fact the mission of the entire activation of the response force. When NATO activated one month ago this response force – it had never done it before, it was for the first time – , this means 40,000 soldiers on NATO level who are prepared for the situation in which a NATO territory is attacked. Therefore, we’ll have extra troops somewhere in Romania and this is a good thing. It is exactly what Romania had been asking for a long time, over the recent years,” Dincu said.
The Defence Minister confirmed that this measure could also be regarded as a preparation for hosting permanent bases in Romania, when asked in this respect.
“It is a preparation, indeed. This is a decision that is going to be made probably in the future, it is a sensitive decision, as it is also a matter of language. We participated in a NATO debate that was quite intense, as there are some countries saying that ‘permanent’ doesn’t sound right, as it would mean saying that war is permanent. As such it will be called a rotating force or something like that,” he explained.
Leaders of NATO member states gathered in Brussels in an extraordinary summit approved on Thursday four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced, according to AFP, Reuters and dpa.
“Leaders approved our four new NATO battlegroups. In Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. These are in addition to the four already in the Baltic countries and Poland. So we have eight multinational NATO battlegroups now. From the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea,” Stoltenberg said after the end of the meeting.
NATO already has battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Agerpres reports.