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Romania moves military forces to border with Ukraine

BUCHAREST, April 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Romania has moved military formations to the eastern border of the country, as a military train loaded with air defence systems, trucks and surface-to-air missile launch systems headed through Romania’s capital, Bucharest, to the Romanian Black Sea city of Constanta. Military hardware is needed for joint military exercises in which U.S. servicemen and four U.S. fighters F-16 participate, the Romanian Defence Ministry told reporters.

“War games will be held according to the plan of strategic partnership between our countries,” Romanian Defence Minister Mircea Dusa told reporters earlier.

Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Estonia have earlier asked NATO and the United States to build up military presence in these countries over current crisis in Ukraine. After the start of this crisis AWACS surveillance aircraft have started to make daily flights from the NATO airbase Geilenkirchen in Germany over southern Romania, conducting radar reconnaissance in southern Ukraine, Moldova and Crimea. At the beginning of the year the North Atlantic Alliance has shifted military functions of Pentagon’s Transit Centre at Kyrgyz airport Manas to airbase Mihail Kogalniceanu near the port city of Constanta which will transfer cargoes and troops during an anti-terrorism operation in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Romanian President Traian Basescu has satisfied Washington’s request to beef up the numerical strength of marines at this base from one thousand to 1.6 thousand. Romanian authorities also asked Washington to deploy in Romania a squadron of U.S. fighters until 2017, as Bucharest plans to buy 12 used fighters F-16 in Portugal for the country’s Air Force to replace outdated fighters MiG-21 Lancer by this deadline.

Plans for growing U.S. military presence in Romania are criticised by politicians and the public. For instance, adviser of the Romanian prime minister Ionel Blanculescu has voiced concerns that the U.S. had made “a perfect target” of the country in case of a military escalation in the region. “American anti-missile shield in Deveselu, militarisation of our country through American presence do nothing but making Romania as a perfect target inevitable for any plan of a military attack,” he said.

Meanwhile, some Romanian analysts believe that over current Ukrainian crisis Bucharest should prepare to introduce its troops in Ukraine’s Black Sea littoral Odessa region and Chernovtsy region in south-western Ukraine. “An intervention in northern Bukovina, southern Bessarabia and the Transnistria becomes inevitable and even necessary when the Ukrainian state will become incapable to preserve public order on these territories populated with Romanians,” analyst of popular Romanian newspaper Adevarul (truth) Dinu Zara wrote in his article.