NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in his remarks after the meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban in Brussels on January 9 that “the Black Sea is of strategic importance for NATO.”
Speaking of Romania’s contributions to the Black Sea security, Stoltenberg also noted that Georgia and Ukraine are “close partners” in the region.
“We have to remember that three of our member states are littoral states to the Black Sea, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, and then we have two close partners, Ukraine and Georgia, who are also Black Sea countries,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO is “working closely with them, helping them, working with them, [and] exercising with them.”
According to the Secretary General, “NATO has increased its presence in the Black Sea Region on land, at sea and in the air, with enhanced air policing, with more naval presence and also with more presence with land forces,” and is “constantly assessing the need” to further strengthen its presence there.
Stoltenberg then added that “what triggered the adaptation, the strengthening of NATO’s collective defence,” over the last years, “was actually the illegal annexation of Crimea in the Black Sea.”