Armed forces and military symbols are not hidden. On the tarmac of Bucharest airport, a dozen transport planes are lined up on the runway. As for the immense Palace of the Parliament which towers over the capital and symbolizes the Ceausescu era, NATO and EU flags are enthroned there alongside the Romanian flag, and face the Boulevard de la Victoire du socialisme .
Four hours from Bucharest, perched in the mountains of Transylvania, the Cincu military camp, the second largest in the country, is experiencing unusual activity. In this remote area, little has changed since Soviet times. On the bumpy roads, tanks and watchtowers rub shoulders with old carts pulled by tired donkeys. But, for a few weeks, the noises of boots have intensified. Dispatched after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, for the first time since its creation in 2002, the NATO Response Force was first set up in the strategic city of Constanta, on the shores of the Black Sea. Then, for a fortnight, Cincu has become the scene of inter-allied military maneuvers: Americans, Belgians, Poles, Romanians and French are conducting exercises. Other member countries, such as the Netherlands, are to send a secondment this summer.
On Thursday, April 28, three Romanian, Polish and French contingents gathered near the command post which faces snow-capped mountains. In the rain, feet sunk in the mud, 150 men get ready. “We arrived three months ago, recalls Commander Chaplinski, who leads the Polish battalion. The objective is to be ready to help our NATO allies in the event of aggression”. According to him, “technological or language barriers are not a problem”. And, beware of appearances because, if the Romanian soldiers are equipped with old AK47s, their infantry vehicles, Piranha 5, are much more efficient than the forward armored vehicles (VAB) deployed by the French army. However, these need to be replaced soon.
After the arrival of a Polish general, the maneuver begins. The tanks rush into the valley and open fire on fictitious targets, while the men rush into the trenches. “The purpose of this training is not to wage war but to prepare for it,” confided an officer. Already accused, in 2019, by the French President, of being “brain dead”, and again last year, in particular after clashes with Turkey in the Mediterranean, NATO, against the Russian adversary, has closed ranks in Romania.
letelegramme Fr Trans