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Russian Foreign Ministry's statements - inappropriate and completely baseless (Foreign Ministry)

NATO

Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry rejects the statements of the Russian Federation's Foreign Ministry regarding the allied military presence on NATO's eastern flank as "inappropriate and baseless".

In a statement on Friday, the Foreign Ministry reiterates that NATO's presence in allied states, which is the result of top-level decisions made by allied leaders and implemented by the competent allied political and military structures, is a strictly defensive response to the increasingly aggressive behavior of the Russian Federation in the Eastern Neighborhood, especially since 2014, when the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was illegally occupied by Russia.

"The escalation of this behavior continues today, despite NATO's attempts to engage in constructive dialogue," the Foreign Ministry says, pointing out that the demand for the deployment of NATO forces in all Alliance states that joined after 1997, including troops, to be reduced according to Moscow's requirements is already listed among Russia's European security proposals released in December 2021, Agerpres.ro.

"This request has already been unequivocally rejected as unacceptable by the North Atlantic Alliance, both publicly and as part of the NATO-Russia and US-Russia dialogue. Such a request is inadmissible and cannot be subject to negotiation, given that the deterrence and defense posture is directly connected with, and is an intrinsic part of NATO's collective defense mechanism no third country can veto upon. The allies have firmly stated that they will further strengthen their security and collective defense policy, including through the presence of allied troops in the territory of the Eastern allies," the cited source said.

It goes on to note that together with its allies, Romania will continue to strongly support with arguments based on security developments in the Eastern Neighborhood, the importance of strengthening the Eastern flank, which is why the Romanian authorities welcomed the recent announcements by the US and France about plans to place troops in Romania as part of the allied deterrence and defense posture.

"At the same time, Romania expresses its hope that the dialogue opened with the Russian Federation during this period will continue and will lead to the de-escalation of the security situation, to the benefit of the entire Euro-Atlantic area," the Foreign Ministry concludes.

The security guarantees Russia demands from the West include the removal of NATO forces from Romania and Bulgaria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday as cited by Reuters.

Moscow has demanded legally binding guarantees from NATO that the military bloc will stop its expansion and return to its 1997 borders.

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