U.S. soldiers take part in the live-fire Justice Eagle 22.1 exercise at the Smardan military shooting range in Romania in March 2022.
The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of 95 tactical vehicles and related equipment to Romania, the Pentagon said on March 14, as officials held the eighth round of the U.S.-Romania Strategic Dialogue in Bucharest.
The sale of the vehicles, known as Heavy Gun Carriers Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), would bring the full potential sale to a value of $104 million. Romania had previously requested 35 JLTVs.
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on March 14. Despite approval by the State Department, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.
A key conclusion of the U.S.-Romania Strategic Dialogue emphasized that transatlantic unity is needed to deter future aggression and to allow the Black Sea to reach its full potential as a strategic connector between Europe and Central Asia.
Both countries called for increased cooperation within NATO “to better consolidate defense and deterrence in the Black Sea region,” a joint statement by the United States and Romania said after talks within the dialogue.
“The Romanian and U.S. delegations took special note of the potential risk of Russia’s destabilizing actions in the Black Sea region, particularly against the security and stability of the Republic of Moldova,” the joint statement said.
“Romania and the United States remain committed to supporting the democratically elected authorities of the Republic of Moldova in their efforts to strengthen their country’s political and economic resilience, defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continue the process of European integration,” the statement said.
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Separately, the U.S. Army said the process of rotating units of the 101st Airborne Division based in Romania and throughout Southeast Europe will result in a temporary increase in personnel and equipment moving to Romania and neighboring countries.
In the next few weeks, local communities can expect to see higher volumes of military vehicles and equipment moving on civilian roads, the 101st Airborne Division said in a news release on March 14 on Facebook.
“These one-for-one unit replacements do not constitute a change to current force posture levels, and the redeploying units will return to their home stations within the United States,” the 101st Airborne Division said.
The 101st Airborne Division units were sent to Romania to support NATO's southeastern flank in the division’s first deployment to Europe in nearly 80 years.
Since invading Ukraine in February last year, Russian forces have advanced northward from the Crimean Peninsula, which was illegally seized by Moscow in April 2014.
Russian troops have been trying to advance along the Black Sea coast into Ukraine's Kherson region in order to capture key Ukrainian port cities and cut off Ukrainian access to the sea.
The Russian threat prompted the U.S. decision to deploy troops with the 101st Airborne Division to NATO member Romania.