Three soldiers of the Belgian military forces deployed in Romania have been sent home after “internal tensions,” Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder said in Parliament on Wednesday.
In spring, Belgium sent approximately 300 soldiers to Romania, where they are part of the NATO Rapid Reaction Force deployed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Three of those soldiers have now been sent home after “a disciplinary incident,” Dedonder clarified in the House Defence Committee to questions from several Federal MPs.
“It is not uncommon that tensions can arise when people live together 24/7,” her cabinet clarified to Belga News Agency, adding that it happens occasionally during operations that soldiers are sent because of internal tensions.
“The circumstances of the operation mean that the stress is not easy for everyone to handle,” her cabinet added. In the Chamber, there was talk of a knife fight, but Dedonder formally denied this.
The soldiers have returned to Belgium according to the internal procedures and will be followed up appropriately within the Defence Ministry.
The Belgian soldiers, along with troops from France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, are stationed in a military base in the city of Constanta, on the Black Sea in Romania, which is a neighbouring country of Ukraine.
The Belgian troops may reportedly become part of a new NATO combat group, meaning that it is a possibility that they would stay in Romania for several years.