The Romanian authorities have prepared a draft national defense strategy for 2020-2024, which refers to Russia's "aggressive behavior" and "actions to militarize the Black Sea region."
"The aggressive behavior of the Russian Federation, the actions of the (militarization) of the Black Sea region and the hybrid type of actions carried out by this state aimed at maintaining a tense climate in an area close to our country, force Romania to resolutely continue the extensive process of creating reliable opportunities for deterrence and protection, which started in 2015," the document reads.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis sent the draft to parliament. For it to take effect, both chambers must approve it.
According to the country's national strategy of 2015, Romania is located in the region where "frozen conflicts" have previously been observed. "Today, the region is marked by active conflicts and deteriorating relations between NATO and the Russian Federation. The presence of conflict zones in the region directly raises the problem of the safety of Romanian citizens," the document reads. It also said Romania should focus on "deterrence and protection against any aggressive actions".
Russia's "aggressiveness" is mentioned at least twice in the new draft strategy.
"This is a global paradigm shift that takes into account developments in the region, deteriorating relations between NATO and the Russian Federation, the spread of terrorism, hybrid and cyber threats, and other challenges," Johannis said in presenting the project.
He added that Romania's strategic partnership with the United States, NATO membership and the European Union were the foundations of Romania's foreign and security policy.
In August 2019, Johannis and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to strengthen "defensive and deterrent positions on NATO's eastern flank, including in the Black Sea, which is of strategic importance to transatlantic security." In February of this year, then-Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk held talks with his Romanian counterpart. Then the parties expressed concern about Russia's actions in the Black and Azov seas, as well as the "militarization of Crimea."