Romania’s Defense Minister Vasile Dincu resigned Monday after he sparked controversy after saying that Ukraine’s only chance for peace would be negotiating with Russia.
His comments which went against NATO member Romania’s official stance prompted criticism in the government and there was growing pressure for him to step down due to Romania’s key strategic position in the Western military alliance.
Earlier this month, he said negotiations , with the help of international allies, were the only way to achieve a lasting peace in the unprovoked war against Ukraine by Russia.
He was criticized by President Klaus Iohannis and leaders of the ruling governing coalition, including Premier Nicolae Ciuca.
Iohannis said that since Ukrainians were paying for the war with their own blood, only they could say when and what could be negotiated.
In his resignation note on Monday, Dincu he cited difficulties working with Romania’s president who heads the armed forces.
Romania is a member of NATO and shares a 630-kilometer border with Ukraine.
Since Russia’s invasion in February, it has gained strategic importance and hosts multinational battlegroups and military bases.
Dincu is a member of the Social Democrat party, which is one of the main parties in the ruling coalition.
He said he resigned “to not block a number of projects absolutely necessary for the optimal function” in the defense ministry and army.
Social Democrat chairman Marcel Ciolacu said he had asked Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, a former defense minister, to step in as interim defense minister “because Romania is obliged to ensure stability on the eastern flank of NATO.”
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