The Russian foreign ministry reiterated its security demand to the US and NATO, asking for a complete withdrawal of foreign forces from NATO member states Bulgaria and Romania, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday.
Both Bulgaria and Romania are on the Black Sea — close to Russia’s area of influence. Romania also borders Ukraine.
The ministry said Moscow’s position was very clear and didn’t leave room for “ambiguous interpretations.”
“We are talking about the withdrawal of foreign forces, hardware, and weapons as well as other steps that will ensure that the setup in the countries that were not NATO members back in 1997 would be reverted to what it was back then,” the ministry said. “These include Bulgaria and Romania.”
On Thursday, the Dutch defense minister told parliament that the Netherlands would deploy two F-35 jets, along with support staff, to Bulgaria to increase NATO’s defense and deterrence capabilities in the region, in light of Russian troop build-up around Ukraine.
The deployment is expected to take place in April-May. The country also made available to NATO an amphibious transport ship.
The Spanish minister of defense also offered to send fighter jets to Bulgaria and a warship to the Black Sea in light of the rising tensions.