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Ukraine: a "real danger" of armed conflict in Europe

Ukraine: a “real danger” of armed conflict in Europe

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned again on Friday of the “real danger of a new armed conflict” in Europe, during his visit to a major Romanian military base of the alliance.

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“The number of Russian forces is increasing while warning times are decreasing,” Mr. Stoltenberg warned of Mikhail Kogalnicino’s position (southeast of the Black Sea), while Westerners accuse Moscow of preparing for military aggression against Ukraine.

A thousand American soldiers sent in reinforcements are scheduled to arrive by Washington during the day, in order to strengthen the eastern flank of the coalition.

Scenarios other than an invasion of Ukraine are possible, he added, citing “attempts to overthrow the government in Kiev or hybrid cyber attacks.”

“At the same time, there is no certainty, and therefore we continue to call on Russia to stop escalation and engage in a political dialogue with NATO,” the alliance president added during a press conference alongside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Referring to NATO’s “concern” over this “concentration of forces combined with threatening rhetoric from Russia,” he noted the allies’ “unity” and determination to respond.

“This is why the presence of NATO forces in Romania is so important,” stressed Mr. Stoltenberg, who welcomed France’s willingness to participate in a future combat group in Romania, the country bordering Ukraine.

“We are in the most serious crisis since the fall of the Iron Curtain,” Mr. Yohannes, for his part, denounced the “strategy of intimidating Russia.”

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Dozens of American armored personnel carriers, formerly stationed in Germany, have arrived in Romania in the past 36 hours bound for the Mikhail Kogalniceanu base.

On Wednesday, the next day, the Russian ambassador in Bucharest Valery Kuzmin summoned the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as such deployments only “pour oil on the fire” and “contribute to the escalation of tensions.”

Romania, a member of NATO since 2004, hosts 900 American soldiers, 140 Italians and 250 Poles.