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Romania - Russia Relations

Promoting friendship and mutual respect with a state the size of the Russian Federation, Romania’s biggest neighbour from the eastern neighbourghood, is essential for the regional stability from South-East Europe. From our point of view, the political evolutions from the bilateral dialogue must take into consideration the regional events. We are looking at the relation with the Russian Federation from a broad view, in accordance with the positions of both parties and of mutual interest elements. We wish to establish the Romanian-Russian dialogue on a constructive, modern and balanced basis, in accordance with the realities of the XXI- century, with the aim of a pragmatic, predictable, and future oriented collaboration.

In most Romanian assessments of the challenges to its national security interests, Russia looms omnipresently. The Russian role in Moldova/Transnistria, Russia's suspension of activities under the CFE treaty, and the August 2008 move into Georgia are seen as part of a Russian tapestry to block Romania's efforts to diversify gas supplies away from Russian sources, better regional balance throughout the region (Caspian Sea inclusive), and most importantly shift the NATO and EU frontiers further eastward. The Russian move against Georgia seriously reversed the more positive momentum that Romania was counting on after the 2008 NATO Summit.

Romania appreciates somewhat better than others the importance of the process of NATO integration as the best way to accelerate towards eventual EU membership. EU membership for Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey are foremost in Romania's Black Sea strategy because the process of integration into the EU would also compel reconciliation of a wide range of unresolved bilateral issues with (mainly) Ukraine and Turkey, further entice Moldova away from Russia, and open up a more secure and stable commercial corridor not only through the southern Caucasus but also towards the Middle East.

The August 2008 events in Georgia have forced Bucharest to recalculate where Russia may move next to create obstructions in Romania's Black Sea security space. Though there is a general cultural obsession with Moldova, Ukraine-Russia relations are much more prominent in Romania's calculations. Romania did not feel threatened or intimidated by statements emanating from Moscow, such as President Medvedev's widely-quoted August 25 warning to Moldovan President Voronin not to repeat Georgia's "mistake" of using force to seize control of a breakaway region, or Foreign Minister Lavrov's August 26 remark that all parties involved in the Transnistria dispute were ready to return to the 2003 Kozak plan. The Romanian government interpreted Russia's remarks as rhetoric rather than as a signal of impending action.

Both Poland and Romania have been leading the charge for NATO expansionism along Russia’s border, claiming that regional security is in peril following political unrest in Ukraine. Both Warsaw and Bucharest are demanding a troop presence and calling for missile-defense shields. Polish and Romanian leaders have aptly employed Russophobic rhetoric to strengthen their domestic hand and also look to benefit their national economies by garnering increased military investments to create local jobs.

During a visit to Greece intended to repair ties with the EU, Vladimir Putin said that Russia has “no choice” but to target Romania, which has recently opened a NATO missile defense base, and Poland, which plans to do so within two years. “If yesterday people simply did not know what it means to be in the crosshairs in those areas of Romania, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security. And it will be the same with Poland,” Putin said during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on 27 May 2016. The Russian President was referring to the Deveselu facility that officially became operational in May after nearly a decade and $800 million of planning and construction. “At the moment the interceptor missiles installed have a range of 500 kilometers, soon this will go up to 1000 kilometers, and worse than that, they can be rearmed with 2400km-range offensive missiles even today, and it can be done by simply switching the software, so that even the Romanians themselves won’t know,” said Putin.

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Page last modified: 17-11-2016 19:34:32 ZULU