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November 23, 2022

U.S. Embassy’s Muniz at Romanian Military Thinking” International Conference: NATO has never been stronger. NATO will not bow down. US retired lieutenant general Hodges: Romania is center of gravity in Black Sea region

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has never been stronger than in this period, said, on Tuesday, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Bucharest David Muniz (photo), at the international conference “Romanian Military Thinking 2022”.

The US official said that Putin and the world now see that NATO has never been stronger. NATO will not bow down. No way. And peace-loving countries will continue to support and help our Ukrainian friends. We live in dark times. But, in our efforts to restore international order in the region, what helps us is that we do it together.

He congratulated the Romanian Government, emphasizing that Romania is in a critical place, in a critical space, and its help is essential and it should be very proud of what it has achieved.

Today we are constantly reminded that there is no more peace in the region and we are reminded why NATO is necessary, he said.

We wake up every morning here, at the gates of Europe, on the Eastern border of the Alliance, and we see what was unthinkable for many of us a year ago. Everything changed on February 24. The worst and most deprived of discipline elements of the Russian war machine were unleashed on the continent in places that will be associated with massacres of innocent people and are again in the news: places like Odesa, Mariupol, Kyiv and others. Much of Ukraine today looks as it looked like under Wehrmacht occupation in 1943. Russia has managed to add new names to the blacklists of our collective memory, alongside Babyn Yar and Katyn. The Russian barbarities of Bucha and Borodyanka are now known, the US official detailed.

David Muniz said that “Moscow’s war has seriously destabilized the Black Sea region, and now it has spread to threaten Europe and the world, like an echo of the 40s”.

We have been set back 80 years by a country that ignores the international order, violates many treaties. (…) Russia has shown the world that its troops are incapable of understanding the laws of war and are too demoralized to avoid committing war crimes, the US diplomat pointed out.


US retired lieutenant general Hodges:  Romania is center of gravity in Black Sea region


Retired lieutenant general Ben Hodges, the former commander of the United States Army Europe, stated on Tuesday that Romania is the center of gravity in the Black Sea region.

Hodges showed that Romania has an essential role within NATO, but also for the United States of America, adding that Romania is the center of gravity in the Black Sea region for the US, that’s why there are thousands of US soldiers here, that’s why NATO military aircraft do air policing missions, from the Mihail Kogalniceanu base.

He said that the Black Sea region is an area that the US and most of Europe have ignored in the past ten years, and as a result, Russia has used it as a base to launch aggression against other European states, but also to export this aggression to the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Lieutenant general Hodges also talked about the prospects of the war in Ukraine.

He stated that if the West loses here, by supporting Ukraine to defeat Russia, long term problems are to emerge. He mentioned that it’s not just about Ukraine, but about the respect for the international law, for sovereignty, for international order, and added that there will be serious problems if it turns out that someone can kill tens of thousands of innocent people and break all the existing laws and if that someone is allowed to win.


NATO’s Deputy SecGen Geoana: Romania – a highly valued NATO ally that contributes to common security


Romania is a “highly valued” NATO ally that contributes to common security, including at this moment of crossroads, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana said on Tuesday in an online address to the international conference “Romanian Military Thinking” taking place November 15 – 17 at the National Military Circle Club.

“The Black Sea region was the point of interest, the bastion and the launching pad for the Russian aggressions that built up until today’s war. Russia’s irresponsible and hostile behavior in the extended Black Sea region deeply affects the security of the Alliance,” the Deputy Secretary General pointed out, adding that “from frozen conflicts to the use of military force, from repeated restrictions on navigation freedom to attacks on cybersecurity, Russia has used all traditional and hybrid tools.” “It turned parts of the Black Sea into a war territory. So, what happens in the Black Sea does not stay in the Black Sea,” added Geoana.

NATO’s Deputy Secretary General thanked Romania for “making it possible for Ukrainian products to be exported through its ports and allowing shipments to cross its territory”.

“Russia’s partial withdrawal from Kherson demonstrates the incredible courage of the Ukrainian armed forces and shows us how important it is to continue supporting Ukraine. President Putin is reacting to defeats on the battlefield with more attacks on Ukrainian cities, on civilians, on civilian infrastructure and with dangerous rhetoric about nuclear forces. So we must stay the course for Ukraine, but for ourselves too. NATO will not be intimidated or deterred. We will support Ukraine’s right to self-defense as long as necessary. At the same time, we continue to strengthen our own defense, in order to keep the allied territory and our one billion citizens safe,” Mircea Geoana pointed out.

According to him, the strengthened allied presence in Romania sends a clear message – “We are here to defend Romania and every centimeter of allied soil”.


CoD Petrescu: A regress in integration and international co-operation might follow as a result of the war in Ukraine


Romania’s Chief of the Defence (CoD) Daniel Petrescu said Tuesday that a regress in integration and international co-operation might follow as a result of the war in Ukraine, but the globalisation process will not be stopped.

The remarks were made at the international conference “Romanian Military Thinking 2022” that discussed the dynamics of the security architecture in the wider Black Sea area amid the conflict in Ukraine and the new NATO Strategic Concept, organised by the Romanian General Staff of Defence.

“As we speak, we must be conscious of the fact that the war is happening close to our borders, that people are dying and people are dying as we speak. And I need to strongly condemn it; it is an attack that is unprovoked and also illegal: the attack of Russia against Ukraine. I should express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine. This is a war for national survival for Ukraine. This is a war of choice for Russia. But this is also a battle when our values, the values of the West, are tested. It has political, military, economic and all type of implication. At the political level, I would say that we deal with a new political and military framework; this is characterised by more uncertainties and constraint than used to be before this war. Probably, a regress in integration and international co-operation might follow as a result of this war. But, probably, the globalisation process will not be stopped,” he said.

Petrescu expressed his conviction that the processes triggered by this war will be long-term ones.

“The war in Ukraine has already triggered changes in the hierarchy of the European countries’ priorities. We see European countries co-operating more, and we see more willingness on the continent to invest in defence. I think everybody has realised the importance of creating your own capabilities you can rely on in case of a crisis, especially if it is a military crisis. These trends will last in the longer term, regardless of a possible solution to the regional security issues that the Russian Federation is posing,” Petrescu said.

At the same time, he drew attention to the the fact that, although the Russian Federation is under sanctions by the West, there are countries outside Europe that are still co-operating politically and economically with Russia, and keeping economic ties with an autocratic regime causes vulnerabilities.

Petrescu also highlighted a strengthened NATO defence and deterrence posture in the region, saying that there is more cohesion between what’s happening on the northeast flank and the southeast flank.

He added that confidence in Article 5 of the NATO Treaty is at higher levels than ever before in the history of the organisation.


Compiled from Agerpres

Photo: Facebook/U.S. Embassy Bucharest

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