Romania has become the latest NATO member to voice concerns over the possibility of a conflict with Russia, with General Gheorghiță Vlad, the country's chief of defense, emphasizing the need for serious preparation against such a threat.
In an interview with Europa Liberă România, part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Vlad highlighted Romania's current lack of readiness for war with Russia, a sentiment echoed by defense officials from other NATO countries in recent statements.
The call for increased military preparedness follows remarks by General Patrick Sanders of the United Kingdom, who urged for a mass mobilization in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine potentially escalating to involve other nations. Similarly, Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer have issued warnings about the likelihood of a Russian attack on NATO territories and the need for the alliance to maintain combat readiness.
Vlad described Russia's aggression as a challenge to global democracy, characterizing the conflict not merely as a war with Ukraine but as a broader confrontation with the democratic world. He expressed concern over the implications of a Russian victory in Ukraine, predicting increased tensions in regions such as the Republic of Moldova and the Western Balkans.
Addressing a September incident where debris from a Russian drone landed in Romania, Vlad admitted the country's unpreparedness in terms of combat systems to counter such threats. He advocated for legal reforms to enhance Romania's defensive capabilities against drone attacks and proposed the introduction of voluntary basic military training for citizens up to 35 years old.
The general's comments underscore the growing apprehension among NATO members regarding Russia's military ambitions. With NATO countries being urged to bolster their weapon stockpiles and consider initiating voluntary military service, the alliance is taking significant steps to enhance its defensive posture.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov labeled NATO as a threat to Russia, responding to the alliance's recent "Steadfast Defender 2024" military exercise that saw the participation of around 90,000 service members. Peskov's statement to Agence France-Presse (AFP) emphasizes the ongoing tension between NATO and Russia, with both sides preparing for potential escalation.