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18 Mar, 2024 11:56

NATO’s biggest European base to be built next to Ukraine – media

The facility in Romania will be “the size of a small town,” Euronews has reported
NATO’s biggest European base to be built next to Ukraine – media

Romania has started work on rebuilding an airbase that will become the largest NATO facility in Europe, according to Euronews. The base is located near the city of Constanta on the Black Sea, around 130km from the border with Ukraine.

When the expansion of the Mihail Kogalniceanu Romanian Air Force 57th Air Base is complete, it will be able to permanently host around 10,000 NATO servicemen and their family members, the broadcaster reported on Saturday.

"In the new geopolitical context, with a war on the border, the development of the base thus strengthens NATO’s eastern flank,” Euronews said, referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The extensive project, which will cost Bucharest €2.5 billion ($2.7 billion), includes a new runway, aircraft hangars, fuel depots, and ammunition stores, it said. The base will also feature accommodation for personnel, schools, kindergartens, shops, and even its own hospital.

The facility is located at the Mihail Kogalniceanu International Airport near the port city of Constanta on the Black Sea. There are currently 5,000 NATO soldiers, mainly American, stationed at the facility.

The basic infrastructure for the expansion is being set up on site, Euronews said, adding that the eventual plan is to connect the existing runway at the base with a new one and to link it with the infrastructure of the international airport.

It did not provide a deadline for the completion of the project.

Moscow has consistently warned the US and its allies against NATO’s eastward expansion and military buildup near Russia’s borders. Preventing Kiev from joining the bloc was among the main goals of the military operation launched against Ukraine in 2022, the Russian leadership has explained.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he “doubts that anyone is interested” in a direct military confrontation between Moscow and NATO, as that scenario would mean “we’ll be one step away from World War III.” He cautioned, however, that “everything is possible in the modern world.”