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Romanian Navy frigate King Ferdinand takes part in the Shield Protector 22 military exercise in the Black Sea in June.

Romanian Navy frigate King Ferdinand takes part in the Shield Protector 22 military exercise in the Black Sea in June.

Photographer: Andrei Pungovschi/Bloomberg

NATO Races to Counter Russia’s Threat in Europe’s Weak Spot

Six months after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, efforts to reinforce the Black Sea region have raised questions over why it wasn’t done before. 

It didn’t take long after Russia attacked Ukraine for French Colonel Clement Torrent to get his orders: He had six months to build a base for 1,000 soldiers on NATO’s eastern frontier.

He and about 200 troops from France, Belgium and the Netherlands are now busy leveling a hilltop in the Romanian region of Transylvania. “Our due date is before the first frost,” Torrent, who leads the engineer task force, said from the base near Cincu, about 260 kilometers (162 miles) north of Bucharest by road. “It’s a sign of solidarity. An alliance needs to be tangible.”