Ukraine says Russian drones struck NATO member Romania, Bucharest denies this report

  • Russia launches regular attacks on the Danube ports in Ukraine
  • Ukraine says Russian drones struck Romanian territory overnight
  • Romania is a member of the NATO military alliance
  • Bucharest says the attack does not constitute an immediate military threat

KIEV/BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Ukraine said on Monday that Russian drones had detonated missiles on the territory of NATO member Romania during an overnight air strike on a Ukrainian port across the Danube river, but Bucharest denied that its territory had been bombed.

Reuters could not independently verify either account, a rare report of a neighboring country in the Western military alliance being hit by stray weapons from the war in Ukraine.

Moscow has launched long-range air strikes on targets in Ukraine since launching its invasion last year. Since July, when Moscow abandoned a deal that effectively lifted Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, it has repeatedly struck Ukrainian river ports across the Danube from Romania.

Russia launched its air strike hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to discuss reviving the Black Sea Agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the sponsor of the agreement.

“According to the Ukrainian border guard service, last night, during a massive Russian attack near Port Izmail, Russian Shaked planes fell and exploded on the territory of Romania,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko, referring to Iranian-made drones. .

“This is another confirmation that Russian missile terrorism poses a great threat not only to the security of Ukraine, but also to the security of neighboring countries, including NATO member states,” he wrote on Facebook.

Nikolenko posted a picture showing flames from an explosion that could be seen across the river. Reuters was not immediately able to verify the viewpoint of the image.

The Romanian Ministry of Defense said that Romania was not bombed.

“The Ministry of Defense categorically denies information from the public space regarding the so-called night situation during which Russian drones would have fallen on Romanian national territory,” she added.

“At no time did Russia’s means of attack generate direct military threats to Romanian national territory or territorial waters.”

Daniela Tanas, whose house in the Romanian village of Blauru overlooks the Ukrainian port of Izmail across the river, said she was not aware of the explosions on the Romanian bank but could not say for sure.

“We heard the sounds of drones, air defense barriers and air defense systems across the river,” she told Reuters by phone. “We saw a light in the distance from our window, and it was raining last night.”

NATO has a collective defense obligation under which the military alliance regards an attack on one ally as an attack on all allies.

Ukrainian lawmaker Oksana Savchuk told Ukrainian television that she believed the Romanian exile could be part of NATO’s efforts to prevent a slide into direct war with Russia.

Ukraine reported Russian weapons flying or ramming over its neighbours, including NATO members, several times during the war. In the most dramatic incident, two people were killed in Poland by a missile that landed near the border last November. Poland and its NATO allies later said it was a misfired Ukrainian air defense missile.

Damaged warehouses and buildings on fire

Kiev officials said Monday’s attack damaged Ukrainian warehouses and set buildings on fire hours before Erdogan was due to meet Putin in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. Turkey, also a NATO member, sponsored the Black Sea grain export deal, and Erdogan said he expected to persuade Putin to rejoin it.

Russia withdrew from the agreement in July, which allowed Ukraine to safely export food across the Black Sea during the war. The Danube has since become a vital corridor for Ukrainian grain exports, and Russia has targeted this route with regular air strikes.

Ukraine’s Interfax news agency reported that Ukrainian border guards said in the early hours of Monday that two drones struck Romanian territory near the Ukrainian port of Izmail.

She said she passed the information on to her Romanian counterpart, but received no response.

Ukraine’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said the incident demonstrated the need to increase supplies of modern air defense and long-range weapons to deny Russia the ability to launch drones and missiles like Ukraine.

“Additional weapons and long-range missiles for Ukraine – to speed up the process of ending the occupation of our lands. Russia must be defeated on the battlefield,” Yermak wrote on the messaging app Telegram.

(Reporting by Pavel Politiuk, Olena Harmash, and Tom Palmforth in Kiev and Luisa Ellie in Bucharest) Editing by Tom Palmforth, Timothy Heritage, and Peter Graf

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Bucharest-based general news reporter covering a wide range of Romanian topics from elections and economics to climate change and festivals.

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