SMARDAN, Romania (AP) — Some 2,200 Romanian, U.S., British and Moldovan troops will take part in military exercises in Romania, close to the Ukrainian border, beginning this week.
"Wind Spring 15" will start Thursday and continue until April 30 at two locations in eastern Romania: the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase near the Black Sea port of Constanta and the Smardan shooting range.
Defense Minister Mircea Dusa said Wednesday that Romania will stage more than 340 exercises this year, many jointly organized with NATO and partners from the European Union.
On Wednesday, Romanian soldiers tested their readiness at Smardan, 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Bucharest, and went through a practice run ahead of the two weeks of exercises.
Dusa said the exercises are part of a plan approved at NATO's 2014 summit to reinforce the eastern flank of NATO and the EU, which border Ukraine.
"We will permanently rotate troops on this flank," he told reporters in Smardan.
He noted the presence of a U.S. destroyer in Constanta and 12 U.S. Air Force A-10 planes at the Campia Turzii airfield in northwest Romania.