The first US troops deployed as part of efforts to consolidate NATO eastern flank arrived in Romania.
The first convoy with military equipment of the US detachment deployed to Romania as part of the US commitment to its NATO allies arrived on Wednesday. The military were repositioned from Germany and are the first of 1,000 to be deployed to Romania in the coming days as part of measures to consolidate the NATO eastern flank amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis. According to the defence ministry in Bucharest, the main mission of the US troops is to carry out training and activities jointly with Romanian army structures to enhance interoperability and mutual trust. They will be joining another 900 US military stationed permanently in Romania.
Prime minister Nicolae Ciucă said international diplomatic efforts to defuse the standoff between Russia and Ukraine and those aimed at ensuring defence and deterrence within NATO give the assurance that Romania is prepared to face any security challenge. Speaking on a private TV network, he said the US represents an additional security measure:
"We once again welcome the decision of the United States to send a detachment of 1,000 military to the eastern flank, to Romania. For me, as a former army man, and it's a message I would also like to convey to the population, these are security measures that, clearly, should not fully reassure us. On the other hand, there is a certainty that regardless of what happens, we are prepared to face any security challenges."
In a meeting with the Counselor of the US Department of State Derek Chollet, the Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu also welcomed the intense diplomatic efforts made by the US to defuse the security situation in the Eastern Neighbourhood. Aurescu said the consolidation of the US troops on the NATO eastern flank, following requests from allies in the region, including Romania, is a necessary step and a firm signal demonstrating the commitment of the US to the security of its allies.
The US official praised Romania's constant commitment as a strategic partner of the US and reliable and trusted NATO ally to the stability and security of the Black Sea region and at a European and Euro-Atlantic level. He reiterated the need for a diplomatic solution of the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine and the US' staunch commitment to ensure the security of its NATO allies, including Romania. Derek Chollet also had talks with other Romanian officials about the possibility of a wave of Ukrainian refugees if Russia attacks Ukraine and about ways to ensure needed energy supplies to Romania if Moscow cuts gas deliveries. In his opinion, Romania is prepared for any scenario. (CM)