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US ambassador to NATO: We are working with Romania, Bulgaria in every possible way to strengthen their defenses in the Black Sea area

During a press briefing previewing the October 3—4 Defense Ministerial in Brussels, Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO said that the United States is enhancing the capabilities for Romania and Bulgaria through its European initiatives regarding the Russia’s increased presence in the Black Sea region, in Romania’s proximity.

Asked by a Romanian journalist from the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation if there is any chance to balance this security situation, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison answered: “Yes. We do have a bilateral European deterrence initiative where we are reinforcing the countries that as you say are right there in the proximity of Crimea that would improve Romania, Bulgaria, Poland as well as the Eastern flank, that is an addition to our enhanced forward presence that is a NATO function that works in Poland as well as the Baltic. So the United States is through its European initiatives enhancing the capabilities for Romania and Bulgaria especially, because we do know their proximity to Crimea, and we want to assure that they have the defense and deterrence capabilities that they require and we are working with them.

Also questioned what are the chances that Russia will become more aggressive towards the vulnerable NATO members, and what would America do to prevent that, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison underlined that America is committed to Bulgaria and Romania on this issue and collaboration is ongoing to strengthen their defense and deter Russia’s presence in that region.

America, I think, is most certainly showing its commitments to Bulgaria and Romania with our European deterrence initiative which is an American initiative adding to the enhanced forward presence that focuses on Poland and Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Baltic countries. We do realize that Bulgaria and Romania are also very close in proximity to Russia, and we are committed to working with them, they are members of our alliance and important members that contribute to our alliance, and we are committed to all of those countries that are in that proximity and concerned about their security. We are working with them in every possible way to strengthen their defenses and deter Russia from intervening in our allied country members,” Hutchison stated.

Asked about the 2% from GDP allotted to defense expenses, namely if there are efforts on the NATO side to move maybe towards a different kind of measurement that could account for effectiveness instead of only the expense, the US representative to NATO admitted it’s a tough question, and that is difficult to quantify that.

That’s a very hard question, how you measure effectiveness because, of course, you have to be able to show results, and NATO has shown results and the capabilities to adapt to risk and to go into the areas where we are seeing a need. One thing we do, and it is hard to quantify but it does show the strength of the alliance and that is to look at the countries that are contributing to the missions that we have. Most certainly the cash contributions are to create capabilities. We have to have the equipment, we have to have the airplanes, the ships, the tanks to do any kind of an effort that we will have in either a threat or a future need. That is what the cash does,” the US envoy to NATO stated.

The U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO further said „this is very important for our future effectiveness that we now have these NATO countries and NATO countries that are contributing to the three Baltic countries plus Poland, and then we have further American troops in Bulgaria and Romania adding to that.”

“All of these are now troops that are interoperable, training together, learning how to work together, so that when there is a crisis, it becomes easy to go into a place where there is a crisis and work together and know how to operate in our alliance. So, to measure that may be hard, but it is a fact that it is causing the effectiveness of our NATO alliance that we are having these real-time opportunities in our missions that we are putting together right now and implementing,” Kay Bailey Hutchison added.

Over 60 journalists from Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, the UK, and the United States participated in the telephonic press briefing on Wednesday.

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