The Romanian parliament on Tuesday approved a motion to allow the construction of two NATO facilities in the country’s capital Bucharest.
The motion is an extension of US-led NATO’s defence strategy in Eastern Europe involving the deployment anti-missile defence systems near Russian borders due to Russia’s military presence in Ukraine.
Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said that Eastern Europe’s security is “crucial,” and asked parliament members to think “within the context of the Ukraine crisis [and] the aggressive actions of Russia in the region” before the voting began.
The motion to build a NATO Force Integration Unit and Multinational Division South-East Headquarters was passed with the approval of all parliament members.
The headquarters will begin operating in 2019. Both the Romanian and the Bulgarian military command will be managed through the base.
Countries which have borders with Russia such as Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have also agreed to build NATO headquarters in their countries to guard against what they perceive as the Russian threat in the region.
Since Moscow annexed Crimea and allegedly gave military and political support to the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as the European Union (EU) have worsened to the levels once witnessed during the Cold War era.
The Pentagon announced on Tuesday the deployment of heavy military equipment in a move to deter “Russian aggression” towards Eastern Europe where the region’s governments have been worrying over who the Kremlin will target next in the wake of Ukraine conflicts.
Two American battle tanks were deployed to Bulgaria last weekend. Poland also hopes for a permanent NATO military presence on its soil as Russia vows to increase its military presence following the Ukraine crisis in Eastern Europe.
The Kremlin blames the current bad relations between Russia and the West on the US and NATO, claiming that they are encouraging the eastward enlargement of the Euro-Atlantic alliance further into the post-Soviet space. NATO has in turn raised concerns over Moscow’s recent increased military presence in Eastern Europe.
Over 6,400 people have been killed in fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists which started in April 2014 after the separatists gained control of large parts of the Ukraine.