Romania is not at risk of war, but the army must be ready for any scenario.

In the run-up to the election marathon to be held later this year, Roman politicians know very well that the topic of a possible Russian assault extended by Russia beyond Ukraine s western borders, a hypothesis ever more present in the western military and geopolitical analysis, has an explosive potential, for which reason they avoid approaching it. Having no reason to do the same, in the absence of a political stake, Defense Staff, General Gheorghiţă Vlad talked about this subject. In a recent interview to a radio station, he said that the Romanian population should be worried, and that the authorities should prepare for an undesirable war scenario. He pointed out that the army is understaffed and that reservists are too old to fight on the battlefield. Consequently,  he says, a law is needed that would allow men and women up to 35 years of age to voluntarily learn to shoot a gun and do a decontamination. Following these statements, a number of politicians deemed this warning alarmist, and improper for a military army chief.

In fact, General Vlad s message is similar to that of his British counterpart or of some Western politicians. Against this background, deputies and senators with the defense committees decided to have a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Defense. The announcement was made by the interim speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfred Simonis.

Simonis has said that there is no danger, at present, of Romania’s involvement in a war, and that the population must remain calm, because we are NATO members. This does not mean that the country should not be prepared, at any moment, for any scenario, Alfred Simonis has added. No draft law has been submitted to Parliament on the topic of Romania’s preparation in case of war, Simonis has also stated.

For his part, the Romanian Minister of Defense, Angel Tâlvăr, said on a TV station that compulsory military service is out of question, but that there is a concern at the level of the Ministry of Defense for voluntary military service. He acknowledged the shortage of personnel in the army, which appeared after its numbers have been reduced from 320,000 to 80,000 men. Last year alone, almost 7,000 people left the system, the minister said. Consequently, there is a need to prepare some reserves, which will be done with volunteer soldiers, Tâlvăr said. According to the minister, a project is being drawn up regarding a military training of several months and obtaining a bonus at the end of this training, for people aged between 18 and 35. Like the other high officials, the Minister of Defense gave assurances that Romania is not in danger of war. This does not mean, he added, that a serious state, a member of the most important political-military alliance in history, should not be in agreement and in line with what is happening in other armies. General Vlad also emphasized the fact that the Romanian ammunition factories do not have the capacity to manufacture the NATO-type ammunition that the Army needs.

(Ştefan Stoica, Radio Romania International)