17 December 2021

Morning headlines – December 17th 2021

Florin Jipa

Image source: AP

Coronavirus and vaccines

  • Vaccination in Romania: In the last 24 hours, more than 32.000 people got vaccinated. Totally, more than 7,87 million people got the vaccine, with more than 7,69 getting both doses and 1,85 of them getting the third dose.
  • Coronavirus in Romania: In the last 24 hours, there were recorded 812 new SARS CoV-2 cases, 84 deaths, and in ICU there are now 600 people hospitalized.
  • The vaccination of kids with ages between 5 and 11 years. The coordinator of the vaccination campaign, colonel Valeriu Gheorghita, has stated, on Thursday, that at the midst of January 2022, the vaccination of kids aged 5 and 11 will start.

Global political and military events

  • NATO and the EU are rejecting Russia’s position on blocking Ukraine’s accession to the euroatlantic structures. After the summit of the 25 chiefs of state and government from the EU, on Thursday, it was issued a statement by which it is rejected Russia’s position to block Ukraine’s accession in the future. Following EU’s position, NATO issued a press release to warn Russia not to attack Ukraine. (AFP)
  • NATO rejects Russia’s proposal by which to not include Ukraine and Georgia in the Alliance. The NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has rejected, on Thursday, Moscow’s demand for NATO to give up the 2008 decision to open the accession door to Ukraine and Georgia. Russia’s list of proposals was presented on Wednesday to the US deputy state secretary for Europe, Karen Donfried, who presented it to the allies on Thursday.
  • The European Parliament extended the sanctions against Russia. The European parliamentarians have agreed, on Thursday, to extend for six more months the sanctions against Russia and warned that an invasion of Ukraine would lead to other measures as well, like freezing the financial and physical assets in the EU for some soldiers, political leaders and close people of Putin, travel restrictions, Russia’s exclusion from the SWIFT payment system etc. (AFP)
  • Lukashenko wants to outlaw all opposition NGOs. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko announced on Thursday his intention to outlaw all opposition non-governmental organizations, which he accused of receiving foreign funding. He believes that the NGOs are preparing a coup d'etat. (Aleph News)
  • US appoints an ambassador to China. The US Senate on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Nicholas Burns as US Ambassador to China, ending more than a year of diplomatic leave in Beijing. (AP)
  • Former Pentagon contractor arrested for pro-Russian espionage. John Murray Rowe Jr., 63, was arrested on Wednesday for spying for Russia. Rowe has worked for 40 years as a test engineer for many defense companies. (Tass)
  • French Defense Minister visits India. Florence Parly is meeting in New Delhi on Friday with Indian counterpart Raksha Mantri Shri to discuss security in the region and military co-operation between the two states. (India Today)

Romania's defense and security

  • The MFA held consultations on the crisis in Ukraine. On Thursday, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu attended a telephone consultation session with Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to the President of the United States, as well as senior officials from the Bucharest 9 Format, regarding the recent US contacts with The Russian Federation, as well as the complex developments in NATO's Eastern Neighborhood and the Black Sea. (Press release)
  • Vice Admiral Gilles Boidevezi visits Romania. During his first visit to Romania, as prefect of the Mediterranean and commander of the Mediterranean Maritime District, Vice Admiral Gilles Boidevezi offered the Romanian press the opportunity to discuss the context of his presence in the country, cooperation with naval forces from countries bordering the Sea Blacks and objectives on the Franco-Romanian bilateral agenda in the field of maritime defense and security. The meeting with the journalists was hosted by E.S. Laurence Auer, French ambassador to Bucharest, who complemented the press conference with politico-diplomatic messages, along with Colonel Daniel Parpaillon, France's defense attaché. (Mediafax)
  • The French frigate Auvergne docked in the port of Constanta on Thursday. The Romanian sailors from the frigate Regina Maria will train with the French ones from the frigate Auvergne in an exercise at sea, in which aircraft of the Romanian Air Force will also participate. (Press release)
  • Government meeting. The government will approve, on Friday, the draft National Anticorruption Strategy 2021 - 2025, but also the decisions regarding the payment of Romania's arrears for 2019 to the optional programs of the European Space Agency, and the budget of revenues and expenditures for 2021 for Uzina Mecanica Orastie  Society. (Press release)