THE WEEK IN REVIEW

the week in review February 21-25, 20222

All recent crises, the pandemic, rising prices, and runaway inflation, paled in comparison on Thursday morning, when war came to the borders of Romania. Neighboring Ukraine, where Romanians are the second most numerous ethnic community, was attacked by Russia. According to President Vladimir Putin, he ordered what he called an ample military intervention in order to protect citizens from alleged abuses committed by the Ukrainian government in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which the Kremlin on Monday had recognized officially as independent. President Putin launched what he called a special military operation in order to demilitarize and de-Nazifi Ukraine, as he put it. Russian forces have bombed peaceful Ukrainian cities. Explosions occurred in the capital Kiev. The massive attack focused on strategic infrastructure, starting with airports, fuel depots, and military command and control centers. Ukraine has declared martial law and retaliated, with military losses on both sides. Many civilian victims have been reported in Ukraine.

 

 

Political reaction from Bucharest

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has firmly condemned the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, which he categorized as a severe violation of international law, and of the sovereignty and integrity of a European state. According to the head of state, this act is once more proof that Moscow is not interested in dialog, but in confrontation and forceful imposition of its claims, under an obsolete logic of spheres of influence. President Iohannis was attending an extraordinary gathering of EU leaders dedicated to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, and called for an immediate, wholesale, and unconditional cessation of Russian military aggression, and withdrawal from Ukraine. Before traveling to Brussels, Klaus Iohannis called a meeting of the Higher Defense Council of Romania, and in the end of the gathering he said:

“Romania has the benefit of the amplest security guarantees possible. The status of NATO and EU member, and the solid strategic partnership with the US is an extremely strong security umbrella. Never in our history have we been better protected in the face of potential aggression. I want to emphasize clearly that Romania will not be drawn into the military conflict in Ukraine. In addition, I want to assure everyone that I will take all needed measures, together with the government, the Romanian Parliament, and our international allies in order to ensure that the security and safety of Romanian citizens will in no way be affected.”

PM Nicolae Ciuca also condemned with determination the invasion of Ukraine, which he deemed an illegal act of aggression, in violation of international law. Speaking on behalf of the Romanian executive, the premier, who is himself a retired general, expressed his solidarity with the Ukrainian government, and reaffirmed his support for the territorial integrity of the neighboring state. In a separate message, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said that Romania stands by Ukraine's side. He warned that this grave violation of international law by Russia will have a very high cost.

 

 

The international communities rallies

Right after the invasion of Ukraine, NATO and the EU called meetings in which the two organizations stated that, from the point of view of the West, the war started by Russia annuls the entire European security arrangement, and even the world's. The President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, said that Russia is not just attacking Ukraine, but the stability of Europe and international peace, and she pointed the finger at Vladimir Putin as the main culprit for causing war, as a man who puts in peril the future of the Russian people. The EU and the US have announced new sanctions aimed at strategic Russian economic sectors, with a tough effect on the interests of Russia, and its capacity for war. As for NATO, the organization announced added measures of deterrence and defense. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that the alliance would activate Article 5 for common defense if any member state is attacked. On Friday, a videoconference was called in the Bucharest 9 format to coordinate the response of allies on NATO's eastern flank. In the meantime, Romania is still welcoming military materiel for the 1,000 strong detachment of US soldiers sent to Romania to bolster the eastern flank, in addition to the already stationed 900 American troops on Romanian territory.

 

 

Economic and humanitarian consequences

Authorities in Bucharest assured the public that Romania is ready to face any economic and humanitarian consequences generated by a possible prolonged conflict between Russia and Ukraine. A task force has been formed to coordinate government reaction to ensure public service. The executive announced that it is evaluating natural gas transit across the entire country, in order to take the necessary measures to provide continuity in supplies, and said that Romania has sufficient storage to weather the cold season. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry is monitoring the situation of Romanian citizens in Ukraine, and has activated the inter-institutional crisis unit to offer consular assistance. At the same time, government structures are ready to take on the influx of refugees from Ukraine. Bucharest said it was ready to handle an intake of half a million people. They are slated to initially be sheltered in encampments in four counties in the north, northeast, and southeast of Romania. Many more counties have shown availability to house Ukrainian refugees.


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Publicat: 2022-02-25 16:03:00
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