Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis informed the Senate that he approved the temporary deployment of up to 250 American soldiers in the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base in Eastern Romania, according to Mediafax.
The U.S. has been using the military base, which is close to the Black Sea Port of Constanta, and the Mihail Kogalniceanu International Airport to transport troops and equipment to and from its military operation in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The President also approved the a request from the U.S. to use the Henri Coanda International Airport in Otopeni, Romania’s largest airport, as an alternative for its multimodal transport operations, in 2015, in case weather conditions make it impossible to use the Kogalniceanu airport.
The American military presence in Romania has become more visible in recent years. The most important U.S. project in Romania is the missile defense base in Deveselu, which should become operational this year.
NATO also announced it will open two command and control centers in Romania, which will contribute to strengthening the Alliance’s Eastern flank.
All these operations have determined adverse reactions from Russia, which sees the U.S. and NATO bases in Romania as threats. A Russian military expert recently said that military objectives in Romania might become targets for Russia, in case the situation in Ukraine degenerates into a military conflict between NATO and Russia.
“If Romania will let itself drawn into such a confrontation, then it’s likely that a series of military objectives in Romania will become targets that will be neutralised with different types of weapons (by Russia – e.n.),” said Vladimir Evseev, director of the Center for Public Policy and Military Research in Moscow, in an interview for the Romanian national television.
He said that Russia is training troops in Crimea capable of neutralising all possible threats. Russia thinks that the military bases that will be set up in Romania won’t be able to launch just anti-ballistic rockets, but also cruise missiles.
“Russia will be forced to react not only to these command centers, but also to arsenals and any other military infrastructure. We know that Romania can also have an offensive potential, this is why we will seek ways to annihilate the Romanian military fleet,” he explained.