Romania may soon decide to send part or all of its aging Soviet-made MiG-21 fighters to Ukraine, Marcel Ciolacu, president of Romania’s Social-Democrat PSD party and one of the main forces in the current broad coalition, told journalists on Friday.
“First and foremost, you have to create the appropriate legislative framework, and it’s normal to do that,” Ciolacu said.
“Let’s be fair: we have a 650-kilometer border with Ukraine. Nobody knows how the situation in Ukraine will evolve, it is normal to prepare for such a thing, but this does not mean that Romania will enter directly into this conflict with Russia,” he added.
The PSD chief insisted that whilst Romania may choose to donate its MiG planes to Ukraine, the effort against Russia must be collective from all EU and NATO members.
“The first step is to have a legislative framework. No one is going to break the law and I don’t think such decisions will be taken secretly, but it is normal for us, as a state, to prepare for any evolution of the conflict in Ukraine. We must defend Ukraine, this is obvious,” Ciolacu said.
Ciolacu, who is the president of the Chamber of Deputies, also commented on the information according to which Romania would be one of the two neighboring states of Ukraine in which mercenaries are being trained for conflict in Ukraine.
“No such decision is being made at this time. Such decisions are made in the CSAT (Supreme Defense Council) and, as far as I know, there has been no CSAT [meeting] recently … I assume that these are insurgents who would train in another state. (…) I am not aware of such a thing. I also saw the statement of the prime minister who says that there is no such thing,” Ciolacu told reporters.
He stressed that “Romania is not in a direct conflict with Russia” but insisted the country is “with all civilized countries against a dictator, a war criminal, who attacked another sovereign state that has decided, democratically, what course it wants.”
The Romanian Air Force — which is in the process of expanding its F-16 fleet — has 28 MiG-21 Soviet-made fighter aircraft, mostly made in the 1960s, of which approximately 20 are mission-capable. However, in March, the Romanian Air Force grounded all jets following a fatal accident during a training flight in bad weather which killed the plane’s pilot and the seven-strong crew of a rescue helicopter sent on a search-and-rescue mission.