Romania is about to build a common army with Ukraine, and this is a plan devised by the US against Russia, a false narrative carried by media in Bucharest and Chisinau reads. The narrative quotes inexistent provisions of a military cooperation agreement between Romania and Ukraine.
NEWS: “President Klaus Iohannis signed the promulgation of the Agreement on military cooperation between Romania and Ukraine. Thus, starting July 16, the United States of America’s “crazy plan” for this part of Europe was given the green light, by setting up a future joint Romanian-Ukrainian army.
A first step towards carrying out this unprecedented project between a NATO and European Union member state and a non-EU one and in open conflict with the Russian Federation is thus taken. Therefore, the Romanian and Ukrainian armies will resort to joint procurement and production of military equipment. A joint commission will establish the procedures for the implementation of the most hallucinating provision of the Agreement originally signed on September 5, 2020, between Kiev and Bucharest and then approved on June 22, 2021, by the plenum of the Romanian Senate. It's about common protection and the exchange of classified information! […] The Romanian Army risks being attracted into the radicalized strategy of the current power in Kiev to internationalize at any cost the smoldering conflict that Ukraine maintains with the Russian Federation”, Ziarul National writes.
NARRATIVES: 1. Romania will build a joint army with Ukraine to fight Russia. 2. Romania will be exposed to security threats by providing classified information to Kiev and will be drawn into a war against the Russians. 3. Romania and Ukraine are puppet states, obedient to US’s interests in the region. 4. Ukraine maintains a conflict with Russia.
LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: Romania and Ukraine have been collaborating for several years, in regular joint military maneuvers and exercises under the auspices of NATO. In recent months, Kiev and Moscow have intensified their military activities, the most active being Russia, which wants to send a military warning in the region, by amassing troops on the border with Ukraine.
Tensions come against a political background in which Russia will hold parliamentary elections on September 19. Both the Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin and the Kiev leader Volodymyr Zelensky are losing popularity in their home countries, and the tougher positions taken in recent months are aimed at raising their political ratings.
Russia is trying to prevent Ukraine from getting closer to NATO, but also to neighboring countries, Romania in particular, which is a NATO and EU member state. On the other hand, Ukraine is very vocal and demands to be accepted into NATO, especially for the security guarantees offered by Article 5 of the Alliance Treaty, given that tensions in the east of the country with pro-Russian rebels backed by Moscow are intensifying.
The Romanian army still has old Soviet military equipment to maintain, and Ukraine can provide these services, as it is a regional hub for such military services.
PURPOSE: The goal is to make Romanian citizens feel insecure and reluctant to cooperate with Ukraine.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: First of all, the Agreement between the Romanian Government and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on military-technical cooperation, signed in Bucharest on September 5, 2020, does not refer to the setting-up of a Romanian-Ukrainian joint army.
The explanatory memorandum to the document issued by the Chamber of Deputies clearly shows its purpose.
“The Parties shall encourage the acquisition of armament and military equipment as part of joint projects and the production of armament and military equipment, the repair and modernization of armament, military techniques and the provision of other services in the field of military equipment, providing technical support for their production”.
Moreover, the article in Ziarul Național speaks of “an exchange of classified information”, while the document provides for “the protection of classified information”, which is a completely different thing. In fact, Romania has been cybernetically defending Ukraine since 2014, following a decision taken at the level of the North Atlantic Alliance at the NATO Summit in Wales. This is handled by specialists from the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), under the NATO umbrella.
Also, Ukraine is not the state that maintains a conflict with Russia, Russia is the foreign state that maintains a smoldering conflict in eastern Ukraine, in the separatist regions of Lugansk and Donbas. Ukraine has the position of a state that is defending itself, not that of an aggressor. Moreover, Russia has already illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula following a military invasion in the spring of 2014.
Romania is also a NATO member state with obligations and responsibilities in the region arising from this position and not an “American colony”, as one of the main narratives of Russian anti-Western propaganda says. Romania has been cooperating for several years in the military field with Ukraine.
NATO also encourages bringing the Ukrainian defense industry up to NATO standards and reforming the Ukrainian national company Ukroboronprom.
“Ukraine’s commitment to reforming the security and defense sector is impressive and welcomed in all quarters of NATO HQ and in Allied capitals. Russia's actions and the conflict in eastern Ukraine make reform even more essential and the timing even more acute. And reform enables an even more strategic aim: a democratic, prosperous Ukraine, which is the best response to continued Russian aggression and malign influence”, the Deputy Assistant Secretary-General of NATO Gordon B. Davis Jr. said recently at the forum titled “Effective Industry for Defense”, organized the other day in Ukraine by the Lviv Security Forum and Ukroboronprom, with support from NATO Department of Public Diplomacy.
THE NARRATIVE BENEFITS: The Kremlin, in its attempt to disinform Romanian citizens and to arouse and induce anti-NATO and anti-US visions in Romania and extend them towards Ukraine.