President Iohannis: Balanced, long-term consolidation of NATO’s defense and deterrence posture must be accelerated
The balanced, long-term consolidation of NATO’s defense and deterrence posture must be accelerated, President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in a joint conference with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo who is paying a visit to Romania.
“In terms of security, we have emphasized the need for the rapid implementation of the recent decisions made at the Alliance’s Extraordinary Summit, especially the creation of the Battlegroup in Romania. The balanced, long-term consolidation of NATO’s defense and deterrence posture across the entire Eastern Flank in response to Russia’s aggression must be accelerated. It is clear that we need a united, coherent and stronger defense on the Eastern Flank in order to have a more effective deterrence, especially at the Black Sea,” said the head of state.
President Iohannis stressed the need for a new NATO Strategic Concept, which must “reaffirm collective defense as a fundamental priority task of the Alliance and explicitly state that Russia is the main threat to NATO security.”
The head of state thanked Prime Minister Alexander De Croo for the presence in Constanta of the Belgian contingent deployed as part of the NATO Response Force, together with other Allied forces.
“This contribution is part of the NATO measures to consolidate the deterrence and defence posture and the security of the Eastern Flank of the Alliance,” Iohannis also said, mentioning that on Wednesday they will visit together the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base.
The two officials discussed about the development of the crisis in Ukraine and its impact, as well as the response to it. The head of state emphasized the efforts of Romania to support the over 720,000 Ukrainian refugees that have crossed the border into Romania and the results of the activity of the hub in Suceava.
President Iohannis mentioned that it is also essential to consolidate the strategic resilience of the Allies, as well as that of the partners, especially the more vulnerable ones, such as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia.
“In this context, I have emphasized the full support of Romania for the Republic of Moldova, for its European path, and I drew attention to its firm and immediate support in managing the increased flows of refugees that the country is facing, together with multiple other challenges. We must ensure a substantial and coherent support for the Republic of Moldova, political, financial and logistical in nature, as well as in what regards energy security,” said the head of state.
The discussions also regarded the topic of energy security at the European level.
“We agree in what regards the elimination, as soon as possible, of the energy dependency on the Russian Federation, as well as on the need to diminish the impact of high energy prices on consumers. We have convened, at the same time, to continue bilateral dialogue on the ways to increase the safety of energy supply of the European market, but also the measures to protect European citizens in the volatile context of the energy market,” said Iohannis, according to Agerpres.
The two officials have emphasized the common interest for the consolidation of political dialogue and economic and sectorial cooperation.
President Iohannis: I believe we will have Battlegroup negotiated and finalized this spring
President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday that the Allied battlegroup on Romania’s territory will be “negotiated and finalized” this spring.
“The battlegroup has been approved by NATO, and that has been the pleasant surprise at the NATO summit not many days ago. We have the decision, but the technicalities, the negotiations between allies will take a while until they are finalized. I believe that this spring we will have the Battlegroup negotiated and finalized and I hope that Belgium will be a significant part of this Battlegroup, but that will result from the negotiations,” the president told the joint conference with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
The Belgian Prime Minister also said that there are a number of technical issues that need to be resolved in connection with the NATO Battlegroup to be deployed in Romania.
“We need to see what the reality is, what the needs are. We have already significantly increased our posture on the Eastern Flank of the Alliance. My view is that the presence is a long-term one. However, if we find that NATO territory is under threat, obviously we can increase our presence very quickly, the capacity exists, in a coordinated manner at NATO level, if the issue of enhancing involvement is raised, we are definitely willing and ready to do so. What is important is that these things be carried out in a coordinated manner, and NATO has done an excellent job so far in coordinating all these measures, and if we are showing strength today it is because we are not alone. In today’s world, for example, we are a country smaller than Romania, a small country is easy to attack, 30 countries is much harder. Today we understand the value of such a bloc”, said Alexander De Croo.
Military aid being sent to Ukraine by NATO
President Klaus Iohannis also declared on Tuesday that military aid in Ukraine is being sent by NATO.
“For us it is very important to handle the refugees and to handle the people that need help in Ukraine. That is why we installed that hub in northeastern Suceava, that is our main concern. Obviously, military aid is also sent to Ukraine by NATO, which is a very good thing. I do not believe, though, that it is a good idea to have prolonged public statements regarding what one country or another is doing in this area,” Iohannis said, asked about what sort of arms Romania is sending to Ukraine.
Regarding Hungary’s refusal of allowing transit on its territory for weapons intended for Ukraine, the head of state replied: “There is nothing to comment here. We took note of this position, it is quite different from the one adopted by other European countries, but it is difficult to say more”.
Belgian PM: Putin will not go unpunished
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Tuesday that the humanitarian impact of the war in Ukraine has been immense and that the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, would not go unpunished.
All we see today is proof that, following President Putin’s miscalculation, a miscalculation regarding the Ukrainians’ resolve to defend themselves, a miscalculation on the West’s determination to make Russia pay the costs of this war, a miscalculation of our unity as European partners and a miscalculation of NATO’s determination in recent months, NATO is stronger than ever. A few years ago, some partners had begun to doubt. The question has been answered in the meantime, NATO is here, it is strong and it is an organization we can count on. It is very important for me to be able to address you and your citizens to say how important it is to us that our security is collective. Your border is also our border and we will defend it together, the Belgian Prime Minister told the joint press conference with the President Klaus Iohannis, at the end of the meeting held at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He stressed that the humanitarian impact of the war in Ukraine is immense, with over one million Ukrainians having left their living places.
We have over 35,000 registered refugees in Belgium, De Croo said.
The Belgian official maintained, in context, that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not go unpunished.
“Perhaps I should have mentioned one last miscalculation of President Putin – namely that he will not go unpunished. We see the war crimes having been committed, we see that the civilian population has been targeted, we see refugees being attacked, it is very clear for us and we are united in the sense that these things need to be known, evaluated and prosecuted at some point. Some people are responsible for what happened and must be held accountable,” he said.
Alexander De Croo is convinced that other sanctions will be imposed on the Russian Federation for an even stronger impact, but this must be done in a prudent manner, “without endangering our own population and its prosperity.”
The Belgian Prime Minister appreciated the efforts made by Romania to help the Ukrainian refugees.
On Wednesday, Belgian PM is scheduled to visit the 57th Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base alongside President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
Compiled from Agerpres