The NATO categorically rejected her request Russia for the withdrawal of the Alliance forces from Bulgaria and Romania as well as the idea of creating spheres of influence in Europe.
“NATO will not deny our ability to protect and defend each other, including with the presence of our troops in the eastern part of the Alliance,” spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in a statement.
Moscow has asked NATO for binding guarantees that it will stop its expansion and return to its 1997 limits.
Earlier today, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, according to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, that the guarantees that Moscow is asking from the West include the provision of the withdrawal of NATO forces from Romania and Bulgaria. Asked what that would mean for Bulgaria and Romania, which joined NATO after 1997, the ministry said it wanted all foreign troops, weapons and other military systems to be withdrawn from those countries.
NATO rejected this demand, noting that it would create “first and second class members, something we can not accept.”, as the spokeswoman explained.
«We reject any idea of spheres of influence in Europe. “We will always respond to any deterioration of the security environment, even by strengthening our collective defense,” he added. “NATO is vigilant and continues to assess the need to strengthen the eastern side of our Alliance,” he concluded.
About 1,000 US troops, 140 Italians and 250 Poles are stationed in Romania. France has said it is ready to send troops to the country as part of a possible reinforcement of the NATO presence.
Bulgaria, for its part, has reached an agreement with the United States to host 2,500 troops (up to 5,000 in times of force changes) at a training base.