Romania Wants Stronger NATO, US Military Presence
Romania's Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean has requested a strengthened presence of US and NATO forces in the country in response to the Ukrainian crisis.
While on a visit to Washington, Corlatean discussed the situation in Ukraine with US officials, including members of Congress and Senate, including John McCain and Dan Croats, respectively from the foreign affairs and intelligence committee in the Senate, Romania's ACT Media reports.
The Foreign Minister stressed the need of a long-term increased US attention to the Black Sea regions which would put a hold on attempts for destabilization.
NATO has already adopted measures on bolstering defense in the Black Sea after Moscow incorporated Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in mid-March.
A number of its vessels have been deployed to the Black Sea for joint drills with Romania and Bulgaria, which are both part of the alliance. On Friday, it emerged that a Canadian warship will be the latest Western vessels to enter Black Sea waters in a gesture of support for Ukraine.
Unlike Bulgaria, however, Romania has become the one of the staunchest supporters of toughening measures against Russia, as it has common borders both Ukraine, which is crisis-torn, and Moldova, in which the unrecognized ethnic Russian enclave of Transnistria is situated.
Bucharest has therefore adopted a harsh tone against Moscow and has decided to increase military spending by 0.2% of the GDP. Under government plans the country's defense budget should reach 2% of the economy by 2017, up from 1.36% of the output for 2013.
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