Nine Eastern countries demand more military presence on the eastern flank of NATO after the invasion of Ukraine | International

The leaders of nine Eastern European countries agreed this Friday in Bucharest to claim the need to militarily strengthen NATO’s eastern flank and, specifically, the Black Sea, to deal with Russian intimidation, which they describe as real after the invasion of Ukraine. “The Alliance needs to be able to defend every inch of Allied territory. The result we want is a united, coherent, robust, credible and sustainable NATO presence on the eastern flank, especially in the Black Sea, the most exposed to Russian threats,” Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said in a statement. a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, after the meeting of the group known as Bucharest Format 9 (B9), which the two co-chaired. The participants will take their requests to the Atlantic Alliance summit to be held on June 29 and 30 in Madrid.

Known as The Bucharest Nine, the B9 format is an initiative launched in 2015 by Romania and Poland, which also includes Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, countries that were under the orbit of the former Soviet Union and who are now members of NATO, but who watch with concern the Russian aggression on Ukrainian territory. The Romanian head of state indicated that they are working so that “NATO’s future strategic concept reflects, in the most appropriate and realistic way possible, the new security parameters, prioritizes collective defense, defines Russia as a threat and strengthens the Alliance at all levels. “The Black Sea region is of strategic importance for Euro-Atlantic security, and future deterrence and defense measures must prioritize the security needs of the area,” Iohannis said.

The president of Poland, who leads the hard line against Moscow, explained: “We want the combat groups to rise to battalion level on the eastern flank, so that the number of troops sent is much higher. That means more than 3,000 soldiers” in each detachment, 2,000 more than each one currently has. Duda called on “all free countries” to ensure that Ukraine can not only defend itself against Russia’s attack, but return to internationally recognized borders. Furthermore, he hoped for a greater American presence in Eastern Europe. Precisely, in a message transmitted to the participants of the Bucharest Format 9, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, promised “to defend the eastern flank of NATO, consolidate the energy security of the region and work together to support Ukraine ”. Biden stressed that he “impatiently looks forward” to meeting with leaders at the Atlantic Alliance summit in Madrid.

In a joint statement, the dignitaries of the nine Eastern European countries specified that they agree to increase the resilience of Ukraine and the partners in the Eastern neighborhood in the face of the challenges they face. They also referred to NATO’s open door policy, including the accession process of Finland and Sweden, aspirations that they welcome. They also expressed their firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova and Georgia and reaffirmed their intention to comply with the commitments to raise the defense budget to 2% of GDP.

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