Latest news: Russia has announced on Thursday that it will withdraw troops near Ukraine and annexed Crimea, deeming its military exercises over. “The troops have demonstrated their ability to ensure a reliable defence of the country. So I decided to complete the inspection activities in the southern and western military districts” bordering Ukraine,” said Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu in a press release, as quoted by Euronews.
President Klaus Iohannis has announced he will summon the meeting of the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) next week on the topic of the tensed situation in Ukraine. “We are very concerned”, the Romanian President said, yet assuring Romanians that authorities are not taken by surprise by these developments.
“The situation is concerning. Tensions are mounting in the Black Sea region, with a particular focus on Ukraine’s eastern border area. We are closing monitoring these things, so let’s not imagine that we are sitting and waiting for information from others. No, we are giving information to others, for we have highly performing services on this area”, said Iohannis.
“I want to assure Romanians that we are on stage”, he added, revealing he had several discussions with the Defence minister and with other chiefs of special services. “We know very well the situation on the ground and we are very concerned about the tensions mounting there. We are extremely worried. But the situation must be very carefully assessed not only from the military and security points of view, but also diplomatically and we are doing it. I will summon a CSAT meeting for next week, especially destined to the Black Sea tensions and to the troops deployment at Ukraine’s eastern border”, Klaus Iohannis said.
Romanian FM Bogdan Aurescu also said that Romania is not directly threatened by the developments in the Black Sea, but it must be de-escalated. “It is a concerning situation for us (…) It is the largest Russian troop deployment since 2014, (…) an unusual troop movement that has alerted NATO, pbviously, it alerted the United States, the members of the European Union and we are concerned, because we want to identify the objectives of these maneuvers and, at the same time, to see what are the most appropriate measures to de-escalate this situation,” FM Aurescu told private TV broadcaster Digi 24.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy also pointed out that it can be noticed not only Russia’s massing forces, but also espionage, propaganda and misinformation.
Aurescu also announced that the situation at the Black Sea will be on the agenda of the Romania-Poland-Turkey trilateral due in Bucharest as of Thursday.
More than 100,000 Russian troops have massed on Ukraine’s border and in annexed Crimea, the office of the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said two days ago after EU foreign ministers were briefed by Ukraine’s foreign minister.
In a press conference on Monday, Borrell had originally spoken of more than 150,000 troops, and declined to give a source for the figure.
Borrell said no new economic sanctions or expulsions of Russian diplomats were planned for the time being, despite saying that the military build-up on Ukraine’s borders was the largest ever.
In Washington, the Pentagon said the Russian military build-up was larger than that in 2014 and it was not clear that it was for training purposes.
The United States also expressed its “deep concern” over Russia’s plans to block foreign naval ships and other vessels in parts of the Black Sea, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv have been rising amid the military build-up and clashes in eastern Ukraine between the army and pro-Russian separatists