NATO plans to form a Black Sea force in response to Russia’s growing presence in the region.
The multinational force will be stationed in Romania and will include air, land, and sea elements. The 10-nation force will join about 900 U.S. troops already in the region.
“Our purpose is peace, not war,” Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis told a session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bucharest. “We are not a threat for Russia, but we need an allied strategy in the long term, we need dialogue from a strong position of defense and discouragement,” he said.
Details of the new force have yet to be released, but some estimates put it at brigade level, between 3,000 and 4,000 troops. It is expected that Romanian forces will make up the bulk of the force, which — considering the amount of force Russia could bring to bear is token, at best.
Still, the NATO presence serves as a reminder to Moscow that aggression will be checked by counter-force.
What is most interesting is that the force will include a naval component that will feature an increase in NATO warship visitation to Romanian and Bulgarian ports.
NATO air forces will also be limited at first, but Britain is deploying fighter planes to Romania, and Canada is already patrolling Romanian airspace along with national pilots. Italy is patrolling Bulgarian airspace.
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