US Secretary of Defense to visit Romania during Europe trip amid concerns about Russian influence in region

Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of Defense, poses for his official portrait in the Army portrait studio at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.,Jan 23, 2020.(U.S. Army photo by Spc. XaViera Masline)

The U.S, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will visit Romania during trip to Europe next week, the Pentagon said.

The secretary and his team are preparing for the trip to Europe which will include stops in the Black Sea countries of Georgia, Ukraine and Romania, all U.S. allies, the Pentagon tweeted.

New strategic alliances are being forged across the Black Sea in an attempt to counterbalance Russian influence in the region.

The defense secretary will wrap up what was called an “important visit with allies and partners in Brussels” at a meeting of  NATO defense secretaries in Brussels where the military alliance has its headquarters.

Romania is the only NATO member he will be visiting during his trip. It hosts important NATO-run military bases at the Black Sea and the northwest Transylvanian region where hundreds of troops are rotated.

The NATO anti-ballistic missile shield at the Deveselu military base in southern Romania, which is under U.S. command, opened in 2016.

NATO says the $1 billion facility has “a purely defensive nature.” But it has strained relations with Moscow.

Romania joined the military alliance in 2004. Georgia and Ukraine are members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.

A strategic partnership between the two ex-Soviet republics is based on: trade, security, and Euro-Atlantic integration, reported.

The two counties have similar relationships with Russia and the West, are strategic allies of the U.S. and heavily rely on American support for security.


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