Romania suspends Flights of its MiG-21 Fighters
NATO member Romania is suspending flights of its other MiG-21 Lancer fighters today due to a "significantly higher accident rate" and will speed up the planned purchase of used F-16 fighters from Norway, Reuters reported, citing the ministry of defense. The move is not related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which shares a 650-kilometer border with Romania, the agency said.
The Defense Ministry has announced that Romania will continue to fly its small fleet of F-16 fighter jets acquired from Portugal. Allies have also sent fighter jets to Romania for reinforced air police missions as part of NATO's efforts to strengthen the Eastern Flank, especially after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports.
Romania, which has been a member of NATO since 2004, plans to increase its defense spending next year to 2.5% of gross domestic product from the current 2%. More than 3,000 NATO troops are currently stationed in Romania. There will also be a permanent battle group of the Alliance on the territory of the country.
More than 714,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border into Romania since Russia launched a so-called "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24th.
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