Russian President Vladimir Putin still thinks the Bucharest Nine nations to be within his circle of influence, and he is using hybrid warfare to inject misinformation and divide NATO members. Romania is pushing back through its relationship with the United States, investing heavily in defense infrastructure, multi-lateral exercises, and American military hardware.
Throughout Defender Europe exercises hosted by Romania on the Black Sea coast, the Washington Examiner spoke to both Romania’s defense minister and foreign minister to learn how the threat modeled by Russia has built since the seizure and militarization of Crimea seven years ago, though, it seems like Biden won’t even try to help.
The Washington Examiner: “What did President Joe Biden say about U.S. defense support for the former Eastern Bloc, Bucharest Nine countries (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia)?”
Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu: “During [the May 9 B9] summit, the message of President Biden was very strong as far as the commitment to Article 5, the importance of making the trans-Atlantic bond even stronger. He said that this is not only uniting the two shores of the Atlantic, but it’s going across Europe towards the Black Sea, including this very important [area] from a strategic point of view for the alliance.
“He said that his participation was meant to convey a strong message of security for the defense of the eastern flank, including Romania and the Black Sea. So, we are looking forward to strengthening the political-military dimension of the partnership.”
The Washington Examiner: Do you believe Biden’s offer of a summit with Putin was a concession after the Russian president committed the aggressive act of massing 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine?
Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu: “No, I don't think so. I think it's a meeting which comes up as a natural meeting. I think it's important to have a dialogue with Russia. This is the approach that we have in NATO and in the European Union. In NATO, it's quite clear, it's a dual-track approach. On one hand, deterrence and defense, and we just decided that we should consolidate the NATO deterrence and defense posture, and, on the other hand, dialogue because we need to also discuss with the Russians in order to understand what their positions are from a first-hand approach.”