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May 22, 2022

ForMin Aurescu: War in Ukraine had worsened European and Euro-Atlantic security

Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Monday that the war in Ukraine had worsened European and Euro-Atlantic security, adding that there are no worrying signs.

“The situation in the Black Sea is the one that has been observable since the beginning of the hostilities, that is, it is clear that not only to Romania, but to NATO as a whole and to European and Euro-Atlantic security as a whole, the war in Ukraine has worsened security. That is absolutely certain. But there are no signs that can cause us to worry, beyond this finding which is an obvious one,” Aurescu told Digi 24 private broadcaster on Monday.

He also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on Monday had been rather defensive and designed to justify the Russian Federation’s action in Ukraine.

“The parade in Moscow is an event that the Russian Federation organises every year, but despite analyses that May 9 will be the time when a victory will be celebrated on the Ukrainian front, if there was such a plan on the part of the Russian Federation, it is clear that the reality on the ground led to another reality today, May 9, and nothing remarkable could be celebrated. I watched the event closely and found nothing special, nothing spectacular except the notable absences that everyone noticed, as well as a rather defensive speech designed by President Putin to justify the Russian Federation’s action in Ukraine, a speech that shows in certain parts things that indicate again a twisted reality, that is a different type of reality than the one that everyone knows.”

He mentioned parts of the Russian president’s speech that twist reality, citing the proposals forwarded by Russia in December 2021 to the US and NATO.

“What does President Putin say in his speech? He means that those proposals made by the Russian Federation were rejected by NATO and by the United States by default, because they had completely different plans, which was later seen. In effect, (…) the fact that those proposals were made public immediately shows in the language of so-called negotiators the fact that, in fact, you do not want to negotiate what you put on the table. What you put on the table and it is made public is something you cannot turn away from. It is a kind of an ultimatum, a kind of take it or leave it, so a type of proposal that is either accepted by the interlocutors or leads to the end of negotiations. In fact, it was the Russian Federation that had other plans, which we had already seen through the very strong build-up of forces around Ukraine. Mention is also made of preparations for an invasion of what they call their historical lands, including Crimea. We know very well that at that time – and today, as then – when Crimea was illegally occupied, and then when that protracted conflict was created in Donbas – these territories do not belong, nor can they belong to Russia, but they are de jure under the sovereignty of Ukraine,” Aurescu said.

He added that Putin spoke about an active military development by NATO of the territories adjacing Russia.

“So what was it about? The steps that NATO has taken since 2014, the time of the occupation of Crimea, in response to the occupation of Crimea and the increasingly assertive attitude of the Russian Federation. Everything NATO has done since 2014 with its forward presence on its eastern flank is nothing more than proportionate responses to an increasingly threatening action by the Russian Federation, in an attempt to deter further escalation by the Russian Federation. Here is a narrative that twists reality around 180 degrees and actually tries to justify what President Putin’s speech presents as a precautionary rejection of the aggression that the West allegedly planned against Russia. There is also talk of other issues there in the speech, such as the delivery of modern weaponry by NATO countries to Ukraine, which would also have justified this preventive action by the Russian Federation. We all know that arms deliveries to Ukraine actually took place after the invasion broke out, to help the victim of the aggression cope with the illegal, unprovoked, unjustified attack of the Russian Federation.”

Aurescu added that a substantive negotiation of the conflict between the two sides could only take place if there were a complete ceasefire in Ukraine and if the Russian Federation withdrew, as required by Ukraine, at least to where it was as of February 24.

He also said that all the intel so far does not indicate the intention, at least not in the immediate future, of the Russian Federation to use the nuclear weapon.

“That cannot be done simply by pressing a button, even if we have this representation in popular culture. Things are a bit more complicated, the procedure is a bit more complex. There is no such intelligence at the moment. On the other hand, in the decisions of the March 24 Summit we – NATO as a whole – warn Russia against the use of weapons of mass destruction and say that using them is unacceptable and can have extremely harsh consequences. Therefore, the Russian Federation must be aware that any materialised intention to use weapons of mass destruction can have extremely, extremely severe consequences from the world community,” Aurescu concluded, according to Agerpres.

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