What consequences could deployment of Romania's troops abroad bear?

Friday, 12 April 2024 —

Last week, Romania's Defence Ministry made open to public debate draft provisions on national defence.

It has several innovations and could potentially affect not only Romania's but also regional security.

Is any situation possible where Romania would send its troops to defend Moldova?

Read more about what the Romanian government is planning and how it could impact the region and, of course, Ukraine, in the article by Serhii Herasymchuk, Deputy Executive Director, the Foreign Policy Council Ukrainian Prism – Bucharest, send your troops: is Romania ready to defend its compatriots abroad.


Bucharest is updating its legislation in line with new security realities. The hybrid war that Russia has unleashed against the European Union and NATO demands a corresponding response, or even better, timely prevention of threats.

The new draft law includes provisions on synchronising defence efforts with both NATO and the European Union.

What made this law resonate was the provision to protect Romanian citizens in danger beyond the country's borders. It could be interpreted as an intention to counter Russian aggression, primarily in Moldova.

Romania will make it possible to intervene beyond the country's borders to protect Romanian citizens.

According to the Romanian Defence Ministry, the proposed amendment envisages not only the possible deployment of troops to another country but also includes other types of hybrid threat response.

Presumably, this refers not only to the humanitarian component or the possibility of troop deployment but also to other areas: political, economic, energy, informational and cyber.

These areas are the most vulnerable in neighbouring Moldova.

Moreover, this vulnerability is particularly acute this and next year, when presidential and parliamentary elections are set to be held in Moldova.

Moldova falls into the category of countries where Romania potentially can intervene, both because of the existence of Romanian citizens who need protection and due to other reasons. Many Romanian citizens reside there, too.

This year, both presidential and parliamentary elections are also set to be held in Romania.

Presumably, by initiating such a provision, the current coalition government of Social Democrats and National Liberals have decided to use the protection of Romanian overseas to not let their opponents from AUR (Alliance for the Union of Romanians) and PMP (People's Movement Party) play this card.

Does this mean that Romanian tanks will soon appear on the streets of Chișinău, Comrat or Tiraspol? Not really.

Firstly, there are no guarantees that this law will be adopted any time soon. Secondly, this provision could be activated only due to real threats to Romanian citizens in Moldova.

Moreover, Moldova is unlikely to welcome the Romanian soldiers on its territory.

However, it is likely that the new law will create conditions for defending Moldova's airspace.

A similar situation applies to cyberspace. Romania has the potential to strengthen Moldova's capabilities. Ultimately, Moldova's energy sector, which has often been subject to Russian blackmail, is likely to become more resilient with Romania's support.

The problem is that such a step by Bucharest could open a Pandora's box and set an example for others. It is worth reminding that there are also people in Ukraine who hold passports of other countries, including Romania.

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