The Russian bombings in the Ukrainian region of Odessa – and, specifically, in the Danube ports – are putting nerves on edge in Romania, which has reinforced its vigilance in recent weeks due to fear of an incident occurring. , both accidental and intentional. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry assured this Monday that a Russian drone bomb had hit Romania the night before. The objective – according to the version of the ministry spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko – was the Ukrainian port of Izmail, on the Danube River, right on the border with Romania. The senior Ukrainian official even provided in his statement an image in which the explosion of an Iranian-made Shahed drone was supposedly identified on the other side of the river, on Romanian soil. Not even two hours had passed when the Romanian Ministry of Defense issued its own statement in which it categorically denied the information about the alleged drone bomb in its territory.
The competent authorities “monitored the situation generated by the Russian attacks carried out with drones, both last night and in the early hours of Saturday to Sunday, on the infrastructure in the vicinity of the Ukrainian ports on the Danube,” the Romanian authorities said in a statement. . “At no time did the means of attack used by the Russian Federation generate direct military threats to the national territory or territorial waters of Romania,” explained the Ministry of Defense, which also confirmed a reinforcement of surveillance in terrestrial space. sea and air of Romania. In addition, he reiterated that Russian bombings against civilian targets and infrastructure in Ukraine “are unjustified and are in deep contradiction with the norms of international humanitarian law.”
Despite the Romanian denial, kyiv insists on its version. Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba assured that his government has “photographic evidence” of the impact of the Shahed drones launched by Russia on Romanian territory. “We are willing to share the photographs, but the final conclusions will be drawn by the Romanian authorities, who will also have to say what they will do,” Kuleba said. Since Russia last July broke the agreement that allowed Ukraine to export its grain through the Black Sea despite Moscow’s naval blockade, the Danube has become a strategic outlet for the transport of Ukrainian goods.
It is the second time this year that Bucharest denies official information from Ukraine about the alleged violation of the security of its territory by Russia. The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhni, reported last February that two Russian cruise missiles, fired from the Black Sea, invaded Romanian airspace on their way against targets in western Ukraine. The Romanian authorities ruled it out. A Russian bomb drone did fly over the Romanian border town of Plauru on its flight to Izmail before dawn on August 2, a tiny village with just a dozen demolished houses on the banks of the Danube, as confirmed by the mayor of the commune. that belongs.
Sound of explosions and breaking glass
The Romanian Ministry of Defense then indicated that it had not detected “a military threat against the national territory.” Instead, the thunderous sound of explosions and breaking glass from a resident’s home caused panic and fear of becoming collateral victims. “It looked like a war movie,” Gheorge Puflea, a 71-year-old resident, told the Romanian television channel Digi24. That August night, the sky crackled with Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire and large fireballs could be seen from Ukrainian port areas. Another resident claimed to have seen at least one Russian unmanned aircraft fly over his home before heading to Izmail, while another person claimed that a drone entered a forest, near the Danube Delta reserve, a labyrinth of lakes, rivers and canals.
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The Romanian Ministry of Defense sent a team of air force experts to Plauru to prevent the population from thinking that their country was under attack, as some media commentators indicated. He quickly reported that he had found no evidence that any drone had landed or violated Romanian airspace. The area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its abundant bird life, exotic flora and wild horses.
The Kremlin is trying to cut off what has been a maritime lifeline for Ukraine: the Danube river ports from which to export grain, its only solution to outlet millions of tons of grain. Despite the squabbles between Kiev and Bucharest, due to the Romanian minority in the neighboring country, Romania has dedicated itself to helping the Ukrainians and is facilitating the monthly transit of grain from its flagship port of Constanta. Recently, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu stated that they are going to double the volume of Ukrainian grain exported through Romania, from two to four million tons per month.
On the other hand, in November last year, a Ukrainian air defense missile accidentally fell in Poland, also a NATO country, while trying to shoot down a Russian rocket. Two people died. Although the Polish Government confirmed that it was a Ukrainian anti-aircraft rocket, President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated for months that it had actually been a Russian attack against his NATO partner. The Atlantic Alliance also concluded that it was an accident involving Ukrainian weapons.
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