Pentagon chief urges more Black Sea security ties

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin urged more defence cooperation among Black Sea allies on Wednesday ahead of a NATO Ministers summit.

Following talks in Bucharest with Romanian Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca, Mr. Austin said action was needed by littoral states of the Black Sea amid Russia “militarisation” of the region.

“The security and stability of the Black Sea are in the U.S.’s national interest and critical for the security of NATO’s eastern flank,” he said.

“The region is vulnerable to Russian aggression and we’ve seen evidence of that by ongoing actions in eastern Ukraine (and) the occupations of parts of Georgia,” he told reporters.

Mr. Austin was in Bucharest on the third stop of a tour of the region to build confidence among allie,s including Georgia and Ukraine, both of which are hoping to join NATO, and to promote greater cooperation among military forces.

He will then take part in an in-person defence Ministers summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

The U.S. has nearly 1,000 troops in Romania, a full member of NATO, which Mr. Austin says is good deterrence against potential Russian aggression.

Most are stationed at the southeastern Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase but a number are also there to support an Aegis missile defence system, the first installed on NATO’s eastern flank.

Talks with Mr. Ciuca focused in part on how to advance current basic defence cooperation by the countries on the Black Sea rim.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 1:02:36 PM |

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