02:43 GMT02 April 2020
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    Romania’s Black Sea port has begun receiving 500 US soldiers and tanks as part of a move to help beef up defense for NATO’s eastern flank. The “Fighting Eagles," 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment will be rotating through eastern Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu air base, according to the US embassy.

    On Tuesday US Ambassador Hans G. Klemm said the deployment highlights "the strong US-Romania strategic partnership exists in both word and deed,” and the presence of American soldiers "expands our capacity….in maintaining peace and security in southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region."

    While at Mihail Kogalniceanu, soldiers will participate in different multinational exercises and conduct shooting exercises with fighting ammunition, rotating from the base every 9 months.

    NATO’s military presence in Eastern Europe has been increasing since April 2014 after conflict broke out in Ukraine, responding to what NATO considers an aggressive Russian foreign policy.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin recently ordered snap drills in response to to the Sea Shield 2017, where 2,800 soldiers from Greece, Spain, Romania, Ukraine, Turkey, Canada and the US conducted exercises with 10 warplanes, 16 warships and a submarine near Russia’s borders in the first week of February.

    Cmdr. Andria Slough of the, USS Porter said at the time that "Advanced exercises like Sea Shield provide us with an opportunity to work across all warfare areas, ultimately improving our combined readiness and naval capability with our Black Sea allies and partners." according to Navy website.


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