Romania said it won’t be intimidated by “aggressive statements” from Russia criticizing an increase in NATO troops in the eastern European country.
Romania, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member since 2004, will take “only the decisions it considers correct and appropriate” for its national-security objectives, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said late Wednesday in a statement. His government has also permitted Bucharest to host two NATO command centers as the military bloc responds to Russia seizing Crimea, from Ukraine, which borders Romania.
“Romania is a trusted NATO partner and condemns Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine,” Ponta said. “We also welcome NATO’s reaction, which clearly underlines the alliance’s determination to protect members from any form of aggression.”
The war in eastern Ukraine has shaken European security and prompted nations such as Poland and the three Baltic countries to demand a greater presence of NATO forces in the region. Romania’s authorities are “sacrificing the interests of maintaining stability in the Black Sea region in the interest of raising their own profile in the eyes of strategists across the ocean,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said said earlier Wednesday.
NATO may decide soon whether or not to send heavy equipment to Romania and may decide “very soon,” General Philip Breedlove, its top military commander, said April 1 in Bucharest.
“Russian officials continue to make provocative statements which are baseless and inappropriate and do not contribute to stability or predictability in Europe,” Carmen Romero, NATO deputy spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. “All our measures are defensive, proportional and in line with our international commitments.”