Romanian Dilemma Following Meeting with President Biden

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.08 - 2024 11:14 AM CET

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Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Romania faces a tough decision on military aid to Ukraine after President Biden's request for a Patriot missile system.

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Tuesday evening in Washington, President Joe Biden and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis discussed strengthening support for Ukraine amidst its ongoing conflict with Russia.

Biden, expressing his admiration for Romania's substantial assistance to Ukraine, raised a request that could deepen Romania's involvement but also poses a dilemma for the Eastern European nation.

Romania's Critical Role in Supporting Ukraine

"Romania has been incredible," Biden remarked during the meeting, highlighting the country's efforts in supporting Ukraine, from increasing aid to hosting thousands of refugees.

His request to Romania was pointed: to consider providing a Patriot missile defense system to help Ukraine defend itself against aerial attacks.

A Delicate Balance for Romania

However, the proposal comes with significant complications for Romania. With only one fully operational Patriot system and others still in the process of becoming fully functional, President Iohannis expressed his reservations. He emphasized the importance of not leaving Romania defenseless, especially with the proximity of the war.

"There is obviously a need for anti-aircraft defense systems in Ukraine," Iohannis stated, acknowledging the ongoing discussions about supporting Ukraine with advanced defense technologies.

"And President Biden brought this issue up, and I told him that I am open to discussing these issues," he continued, indicating a willingness to negotiate but not at the cost of Romania's own security.

A Patriot for a Patriot?

Iohannis's response underscores a strategic challenge—how to support a neighboring country while ensuring national security.

He mentioned the necessity to deliberate the matter within Romania's Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT) to evaluate what Romania could afford to offer and what it might receive in return.

As the Romanian president says, it would be unacceptable for Romania to give away their only air defense to Ukraine.

"It is unacceptable for Romania to remain without air defense," he says.

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