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Iohannis: Romania shares over 600 km of border with Ukraine, needs to make sure it is prepared

klaus iohannis cotroceni

President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that Romania must be prepared for any possible scenario amidst the security developments in the region.

"Today, we have made a complete analysis of the security situation in the region, including in terms of military, economic and energy implications, and also in terms of uncontrolled migration. Romania shares over 600 kilometres of border with Ukraine and we must make sure we are prepared for any situation possible. The current security crisis created by Russia is not just about Ukraine, it's not just about regional security in the Black Sea and not even about European security, it's about the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. That is why at this time it is important for NATO and the EU to display unity and solidarity," Iohannis told journalists at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace after a meeting of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT).

He emphasised that Romania has a "permanent and substantial dialogue" at all levels, inside NATO, with the US, within the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union.

According to the chief of state, escalating tensions and a massive consolidation of the Russian military presence in the vicinity of Ukraine and the Black Sea region are affecting international security and stability.

"These steps taken by Russia highlight the possibility of it using force against Ukraine, with all the consequences that may arise from that. Also, the recent actions of the Russian side, through the proposals submitted in December, try to unacceptably change the parameters of the European security architecture," said Iohannis, adding that that there are concerns about the possibility of hybrid tactics continuing and their use being deepened, as it complicates the security state, including in terms of responses, informs.

Iohannis said that a whole range of potential actions were looked into, from cyberattacks designed to destabilise institutions and critical infrastructure, as happened recently in Ukraine, to using energy to achieve political goals or using misinformation and propaganda.

"It was an exchange of assessments that included, of course, the components that emerged from our in-depth and consistent coordination with our allies and partners in both NATO and the European Union," he said.

Romania, he added, continues to support the current approach at the Euro-Atlantic level, showing that the country has been very actively involved from a diplomatic point of view in adopting decisions at NATO and EU level using its geographical position and strategic interest in the stability of NATO's Eastern Neighbourhood and the European Union.

Iohannis pointed out that diplomatic dialogue must play a key role in easing the current situation and it is important that it continues.

"Recent talks with the Russian Federation, including those at the NATO-Russia Council meeting, have provided a detailed overview of NATO's approach of the current security situation, emphasising the clear goal of de-escalation. We unequivocally conveyed to the Russian Federation our allied security interests and concerns over its conduct in recent years, including of late. We sent and continue to send clear messages, along with our allies and partners, that emphasise our commitment to upholding the fundamental principles and values of the Euro-Atlantic area of which we are a part, as well as the principles and rules of international law. At the same time, we reiterated our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and its other Eastern partners, as well as for strengthening their resilience. However, we must also be prepared for the scenario in which the Russian side will refuse to continue on the path of dialogue," the President maintained.

The president reiterated the need to strengthen the NATO presence on NATO's eastern flank, including in Romania.

"Regardless of current developments in the region, NATO must maintain a high level of deterrence and defence, which will enable it to effectively fulfill its strictly defensive - I repeat, strictly defensive - objectives for which the Alliance was created," Iohannis said, underscoring that the measures taken by NATO so far to strengthen the military presence on its eastern flank are an eminently defensive response to the growing security risks, threats and challenges in the region.

The chief of state welcomed again the announcements of his American and French counterparts regarding the readiness of the US and France to increase their presence in Romania.

"I have said this constantly and I repeat that we are ready to host an increased NATO presence on our soil. In fact, following the announcements of the US and France, we are in contact with the two allies to establish concretely the arrangements for the military presence of the two partners," Iohannis said.

He mentioned that at the EU level, a series of sanctions against the Russian Federation are being discussed if the Russian Federation starts aggressive actions against Ukraine.

"There is an extensive range of sectoral and individual sanctions, and their preparation has been recently accelerated," Iohannis said.

The chief of state concluded by saying that Romania is currently enjoying all the security guarantees and there is no need for Romanian citizens to be afraid.


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