NATO launched a new multinational force in Romania this week to counter Russia along its eastern flank and to check a growing Russian presence in the Black Sea related to the Crimea, being not recognised by the West as part of Russian Federation.
The force will initially be built around a Romanian brigade of up to 4,000 soldiers, supported by troops from nine other NATO countries, and complementing a separate deployment of 900 U.S. troops who are already in place. The plans are to include additional air and sea assets to give the force greater capabilities.
“We are sending a very clear message: NATO is here, NATO is strong and NATO is united,” Stoltenberg told assembled Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese soldiers.
Russia accuses NATO of trying to encircle it and threatening stability in Eastern Europe, which NATO denies. Around the Black Sea, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey are NATO members while Georgia and Ukraine aspire to join.