The Belgian PM has visited the NATO air base in south-eastern Romania, where US military are stationed.
300 Belgian military are part of NATO’s response force activated by the North Atlantic Council on February 25, right after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 500 French troops have also been stationed at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in south-eastern Romania. The Belgian PM, Alexander De Croo, visited the base on Wednesday and conveyed soldiers the firm and clear message that they are there to protect the free world and its value from a potential aggression from the east.
Alexander De Croo said:”At this base, French and Belgian troops are working side by side to deter any aggression towards Romania and towards NATO. Let it be extremely clear to President Putin and his clique: NATO allies are ready to stand their grounds. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. For many people these are extremely uncertain times. But at a moment like this it is good to know that we can count on you, on your professionalism and dedication. Your presence here is valuable and is necessary. You are not just a symbol of solidarity between us. Your presence here is a clear message to the rest of the world. We will defend our freedom. We will defend our democracy. And the free world - let it be clear - will never surrender.”
We live difficult times that we have never imagined possible in the 21st century, said PM Nicolae Ciuca, who accompanied the Belgian PM on his visit. Ciuca talked about the need to create and consolidate an efficient defence and deterrence posture on NATO’s Eastern Flank, and said the allies need to be prepared for a long-term crisis and for the situation in which this crisis expands up to the NATO border.
In turn, the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis hailed the presence of the Belgian military at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base, alongside the other NATO troops. Klaus Iohannis:”I want to thank our allies for their presence in Romania. The fact that we are together at this military base is another proof of unity, cohesion and solidarity within NATO. As decided at the recent summit in Brussels, we will speed up the transformation of the Alliance, so as to consolidate its deterrence and defence posture, in particular on the Eastern Flank and at the Black Sea. We are taking steps to render operational the four battle groups, of which one in Romania, as soon as possible.”
The Belgian and French troops of the NATO response force form, together with the American and Dutch contingents, the allied ground troops currently stationed at the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base. British, Italian and Romanian military are also there on enhanced air patrol missions under NATO command. (EE)