The Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, visited the military base in the city of Constanta on his three-day trip to Eastern Europe, which is situated on the Black Sea in Romania, where 300 soldiers from Belgium are stationed.
The Belgian soldiers part of a NATO force sent after the start of the war in Ukraine to help defend the alliance’s eastern flank. They are stationed in Romania and troops from France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“As NATO Allies, we are united in defending our freedom and our territory,” De Croo said during a short ceremony together with the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis.
As Romania is a neighbouring country of Ukraine, the troops in Constanța are stationed very close to the war, but De Croo currently sees no indication that the soldiers are in danger.
“If you want to avoid danger, you must above all show that you are ready,” he said. “That is the message we are giving here: we are ready, we will defend ourselves. The clearer we give that message, the smaller the concrete threat is. Russia will then understand that it makes no sense to touch NATO territory.”
On social media, De Croo said that this is the first time that Belgium is sending several hundreds of soldiers to protect the NATO borders, calling it “proof of Putin’s many errors of judgement.”
“He underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to defend their country, but he also underestimated the unity of the European Union and the strength of NATO,” De Croo said.
The Belgian troops may reportedly become part of a new NATO combat group, meaning that it is a possibility that they would stay in Romania for several years.