Romania has been dragged into a trap by its NATO allies to send military equipment, troops and instructors to Ukraine, but when Russia will start the war against this country, Bucharest will be left to stand alone, according to a false narrative published by Evenimentul Zilei.
NEWS: “Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Accordingly, NATO member states have no obligation to retaliate. Therefore, Vladimir Putin may take any action he pleases, without risking any military response. But there’s more. If the Russian Federation actually invades Ukraine, occupies it and annexes its territory, it exposes itself to another type of consequences – economic sanctions […] In such a large-scale conflict, which will basically sweep the entire world, Romania, like other members of the Group of Nine (G9), who have based their symbolic capital in Bucharest, now seems to have fallen into a trap. And it might get crushed between the two trenches. […] This was possible only in the context where countries on NATO’s southeastern flank, Romania in particular, got dragged into a very dangerous venture, by supporting through signed documents Ukraine’s armed forces in their stand against Russia’s pressure, and also by means of relevant actions, such as dispatching military experts to the army controlled by Kiev, which Moscow considers as one of its high-risk enemies. In a few days, Romania might get blindsided and caught offside. What will we do then? Will we abandon our countless military toys deployed in Ukraine, as if they count for nothing? Will we abandon our troops and experts on the ground, as if they weren’t serving our country’s colors? And if we don’t, won’t we also get abandoned by our relevant partners within NATO?”, reads an editorial published by Sorin Roșca Stănescu for evz.ro.
NARRATIVES: 1. Romania has deployed forces and equipment in Ukraine. 2. NATO will abandon Romania when Russia attacks Ukraine, and Bucharest will lose the soldiers and military technology it has dispatched to this country.
BACKGROUND: In the last few months, Russia has amassed a sizable military force outside Ukraine’s borders, which has led to the escalation of an already tense context. Moscow is trying to force the West’s hand and impose a series of “conditions” so that Ukraine doesn’t get admitted into NATO and can remain within Moscow’s sphere of influence. Ukraine’s right to self-determination has been overlooked by the Russian side. Moscow’s list of conditions rules out any NATO expansion or the setting up of American military bases in any ex-Soviet state. It also stipulates that “NATO should abandon all military operations in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.”
Romania plays host to American troops and military technology in three military bases: the one in Desevelu in Olt County, which also hosts elements of the US anti-ballistic missile shield, the military base in Kogălniceanu, Constanța County, and the air base at Câmpia Turzii, Cluj County.
Moreover, Romania, much like its NATO allies and European partners, has repeatedly argued in favor of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and firmly condemned the occupation and annexation of Crimea by Russia. On the other hand, like other states in the region, Bucharest too expressed concern with Russia’s growing militarism.
PURPOSE: To convince public opinion that Romania will be abandoned by its military allies in the case a war breaks out.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: First of all, the claims the article in Evenimentul Zilei makes, according to which Romania has allegedly deployed troops or has dispatched military instructors to Ukraine, are completely false. Moreover, Romania has no type of military equipment currently deployed on Ukrainian territory.
Contacted by Veridica.ro, the Defense Ministry said “Romania never carried out and is not currently engaged in any missions or actions of the type suggested in the said article”.
The Defense Ministry also stated that Romanian-Ukrainian cooperation in the field of defense observes transparent principles and involves a bilateral component and a regional one. Romania also cooperates with Ukraine at the level of international organizations, particularly under the aegis of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, based on the NATO-Ukraine Partnership.
“At bilateral level, cooperation between our two armies concerns joint training missions, performed on the territory of either Romania or Ukraine, as part of bilateral or international military exercises planned and announced in a transparent manner. Details about these exercises can be found on the webpage of the Ministry of National Defense, by consulting our press release archive”, the Press Office of the Defense Ministry told us.
Furthermore, military relations between Romania and Ukraine also observe a government agreement in the field of technical and military cooperation, which the two countries’ Defense Ministries signed on September 5, 2020.
“The agreement will help strengthen bilateral cooperation by creating the necessary legal framework to allow the two countries’ institutions and economic operators to develop joint projects in such fields as the procurement, the rehabilitation and modernization of weapons and military technology, research and development in the field of military technology and the exchange of information and best practices with a view to standardizing, codifying and controlling the quality of military technology”, Defense Ministry representatives also told Veridica.ro.
As regards the narrative about Romania being abandoned by NATO, Article 5 in the North Atlantic Treaty clearly stipulates that an attack on any of the Alliance’s members is considered an attack on NATO as a whole, and all member states pledge to intervene in case one of their allies is under attack.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: The British Defense Minister, Ben Wallace, recently said that it is “highly unlikely” London and its allies would send troops to Ukraine in case of a Russian invasion.