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Bucharest, March 17 /Agerpres/ - Romania seeks to strengthen its military capabilities in the face of the "danger" posed by the Russian operations in Ukraine, Premier Victor Ponta told foreign reporters accredited in Bucharest, AFP reports on Tuesday.

''Romania has a legitimate right and the responsibility to dispose of its own military capabilities, which are in line with those of the U.S. and other NATO member states. This is why we will further request the European Commission's approval for a budget supplementation of 0.3 percent of GDP for defence,'' said Ponta.

Bucharest pledged to reduce its budget deficit to 1.8 percent of GDP in 2015 and to 1 percent in 2017, but hopes to obtain a derogation allowing it to increase defence spending.

''This is a justified request, in front of the danger posed by Russia's increasingly intense activities in Ukraine, since we are the EU and NATO member state that is closest to this sensitive region,'' stressed the Romanian Premier.

In his view, Romania, which has already purchased 12 F-16 fighter jets from Portugal, is considering the procurement of another 12 aircraft, in order to meet its commitments towards its North Atlantic Alliance partners. In connection with this, the head of the Romanian Government stressed that preparations will start in the near future for the call for bids in compliance with European regulations.AGERPRES

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