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Russia's invasion of Ukraine a year ago remains a milestone in the history of Europe
After having illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, on February 24 last year Russia invaded Ukraine. The first step taken by Western countries in the face of the war was to open their borders to millions of refugees. The next was condemning Russia's aggression and sending aid, under various forms.
The European community adopted sanction packages against Moscow, designed to weaken the Russian economy, and with it-Kremlin's war and propaganda machine. EU and NATO countries joined forces in supporting Ukraine, which has managed to endure this year in part thanks to the help of the West, including military support. The US, UK, EU and NATO members have supplied, this past year, equipment and ammunitions worth tens of billions of euros.
Shortly after the start of hostilities on the Ukrainian front, the North-Atlantic Alliance for the first time in its history activated the NATO Response Force, deploying troops and military equipment to the Allied countries on its eastern flank, Romania included.
At the special meeting of the Bucharest 9 (B9) held in Warsaw on Wednesday, Romania's president Klaus Iohannis pointed out that the Allied unity and solidarity with Ukraine were critical, and had been the "secret weapon" of NATO countries. He also reaffirmed Bucharest's multidimensional support for its neighbor.
As the EU and NATO member country with the longest border with Ukraine, Romania acted with full responsibility in support of Ukraine and its people. Ever since the first days of the crisis in the neighbouring country, the most severe one in Europe in the past decades, Romania has provided humanitarian aid as well as political, diplomatic and economic support. It helped and hosted over 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees and was involved in facilitating the transit of around 12 million tonnes of grains from Ukraine to international markets.
The government of Romania has constantly responded to Kyiv's appeals, and made available, among other things, fuel, medicines, foodstuffs and ambulances. The international humanitarian hub opened in Suceava (north-eastern Romania, at the Ukrainian border) in March 2022, facilitated more than 50 shipments of humanitarian aid from countries like Italy, France, Bulgaria, Austria, Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Germany and North Macedonia. In July 2022, the Romanian government launched the National Action Plan on integrating Ukrainian refugees in Romania.
At a diplomatic level, Bucharest has firmly condemned Russia's aggression against Kyiv, and contributed to the international isolation of Russia by supporting the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council and General Assembly. And not least, the bilateral dialogue and cooperation with Ukraine have been stepped up. (AMP)
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