The escalating tension between Russia and Ukraine has inched closer to Romania’s borders, as the lofty shards of a drone, employed in Russia’s assault on a Ukrainian port, were discovered on Romanian soil, according to the country’s defence minister. The revelation comes after two days of firm denials of any cross-border incidents by the Romanian higher officials.
Ukraine, however, consistently affirmed having hard evidence of the detonation, forcing a shift in Romania’s stance. The attack, currently being probed by the Romanian defence ministry, has sparked concerns about a severe transgression against the nation’s sovereignty, as stated by the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis. He deemed an assault on Romania, as a NATO member, “utterly impermissible.”
On the heels of Russia’s latest incursion on the Ukrainian harbour of Izmail, Ukraine’s foreign ministry claimed Shahed drones “descended and exploded” on Romanian ground on Sunday evening. They branded the episode as further testament to the “enormous peril” Moscow presents to Ukraine’s neighbours.
Romania’s Defence Minister, Angel Tilvar, journeyed to the Danube Delta region, proximate to the Ukrainian border, where he announced the discovery of multiple drone fragments. Ongoing investigations and analysis of the remains aim to deduce if they were constituent parts of a Russian ordnance.
Minister Dmitro Kuleba of the Ukrainian Foreign Office publicly divulged photographic proof of the occurrence, making it increasingly problematic for Kyiv to counter his allegations. Kuleba unambiguously declared the incident as “undeniable.”
Romanian analysts have expressed their ire at their government’s swift, unequivocal denial of the assault, suspecting a concealment attempt. Andrei Luca Popescu, a defence analyst, criticises the Romanian leadership for their dated mindset and lack of timely response which questions their handling of the crisis.
Popescu elucidated how, despite the improbability of invoking NATO’s Article 5 over this incident, the tangible and imminent risk of collateral damage from a bordering war cannot be shrugged off.
After abrogating a pact permitting Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, Russia has continually bombarded Ukraine’s port facilities along the river Danube. The port of Izmail was again targeted on Wednesday, resulting in a civil casualty. Odesa’s territorial military administration dutifully reported the damage to their port and granary facilities.
As the Romanian administration refuses to account for their initial vehemence in denying drone detection, the defence minister is shouldering the blame for “misleading” Romania’s president.
He assured on a national television appearance that the discovered remnants posed no threat. Simultaneously, he pledged amplified precautions within the Romanian airspace, including enhanced surveillance and patrol activities.
While investigation concerning the drone’s status – whether or not it was shot down – is ongoing, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that either its fragments or the drone itself crash-landed in Romania.
The defence ministry of Romania maintains an earnest claim of being in real-time surveillance of the Ukrainian situation – a stance that was solidified by a statement asserting no direct military threats encountered by Romania due to Russian attacks.
This incident is the latest in a series of events inducing apprehension around Ukraine’s war escalating beyond its western border. Prevailing memories of a missile mishap that occurred in Poland, resulting in two casualties and an embarrassing incident of an undetected Russian missile found in a Polish forest, still loom large on its western frontier.