By Marcel Gascón
Bucharest, Oct 15 (efe-epa).- Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014 thrust Romania to the front line of a new cold war emerging between Moscow and Washington just 10 years after the southeastern European nation joined Nato.
Romania’s location has established it as a crucial element of the Alliance’s defense strategy in Europe.
“The most important battle for Europe’s future happened long ago between West and East Germany. Nowadays it is taking place in the Black Sea region,” Iulian Fota, the director-general of the Romanian Diplomatic Institute, tells Efe.
“In recent years, Romania has been facing major geopolitical changes and new paradigms that we had not seen since the end of the Cold War. One of these paradigms is that we have become a frontline state.
“The confrontation between Russia and the US and the rest of the Western world for the future of Europe is taking place in this region.”
RUSSIA SETS THE RULES
Since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, Russia has increased its military presence in the Black Sea with warplanes, navy ships, submarines and missile systems of various ranges. It also places restrictions in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov.
The move hampered Ukraine’s access to the wider Black Sea and resulted in a violent stand-off.
Russia’s Armed Forces use the body of water as a theater for military drills with tens of thousands of soldiers, which has led to minor incidents with US-allied nations in the region such as Romania.