Romania’s spy chief meets head of CIA, FBI on U.S. visit amid Russia tensions

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Romania’s intelligence chief has met the directors of the CIA and FBI to discuss regional security during a visit to Washington which came amid growing tensions with Russia.

Eduard Hellvig, director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) met William J. Burns, CIA director, and Christopher Wray, who heads the FBI, the Romanian agency said Wednesday. It did not provide the dates of the visit.

It was the highest-level meetings in Washington ever held by a Romanian intelligence chief in a sign of the strong bilateral relations and escalating security concerns on NATO’s eastern flank.

Security

The two sides discussed regional and global security, focusing on intelligence sharing and cooperation. NATO member Romania is a stalwart U.S. ally in the Black Sea region and hosts a number of bases on its territory with American troops.

The officials analyzed the complicated regional security situation and looked at ways to boost joint capabilities to counter threats to U.S. and Romania’s national security.

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia rose on Wednesday after Russia said it was ordering U.S. Embassy staff who have been in Moscow for more than three years to fly home by the end of January.

‘Retaliatory measures’

Moscow said it had resorted to “retaliatory measures” after the Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov said 27 Russian diplomats and their families would have to leave the U.S on Jan 30. Another 27 diplomats would need to depart by June, because their visas have not been extended by the American authorities.

Last month, Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu asked U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to consider boosting the U.S. troop presence on the Black Sea to defuse tensions with Russia.

Senior Romanian intelligence officials traveled with Mr Hellvig to the U.S. and met Avril Haines, the director of the National Intelligence. They also met Robin Dunnigan, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central and Eastern Europe in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

Risk factors

Both parties reaffirmed their strong engagement to counter the risk factors leading to the current security challenges to the two states, to the regional and global security. Mr Hellvig also visited Brussels for talks on regional security.

Russia calls U.S. action in Black Sea region ‘aggressive’

 

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