Russia says it wants foreign NATO troops out of Bulgaria, Romania

January 21, 2022 / 5:43 PM
A Swiss police vehicle next to the hotel President in Geneva prior the meeting of US Secretary of State with Russian Foreign Minister
Sharjah 24 – AFP: Moscow wants troops from NATO-member states to leave Romania and Bulgaria as part of security demands it is seeking from the US-led alliance, Russia's foreign ministry said Friday ahead of Russia-US talks in Geneva.
Russia wants the "withdrawal of foreign forces, hardware and arms" from countries that were not NATO members before 1997, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

"These include Bulgaria and Romania," the statement added, singling out the two former Warsaw Pact allies, who joined NATO in 2004.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are meeting in Geneva to continue a flurry of diplomatic efforts to ease soaring tensions between Russia and the West.

Russia's security demands included that NATO must not admit any new members -- naming in particular Ukraine and Georgia -- and a guarantee that the US will not establish new military bases in former Soviet countries.

Russia repeatedly requested a written response from Washington to their demands, which the US has largely dismissed as "non-starters".

There are around 1,000 US and 140 Italian troops stationed in Romania on a rotational basis as well as several dozen Polish troops.

Bulgaria has an agreement with the United State for the deployment of up to 5,000 troops on rotation.

January 21, 2022 / 5:43 PM

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