Romania counters Ukraine’s claim over straying Russian missiles

While Moldova confirmed a Ukrainian claim that Russian missiles violated its airspace, Romania issues a firm denial.

A Russian long-range Kalibr cruise missiles
A long-range Kalibr cruise missiles launched by a Russian military ship from an unknown location, Friday, July 15, 2022 [File: Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via AP Photo]

Bucharest has denied that Russian missiles flew over Romania, countering Kyiv’s claims that two of Moscow’s rockets crossed the NATO member’s airspace on their way to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said several Russian missiles had flown over Moldova and Romania on Friday, and that they were a challenge to the military alliance and collective security.

“The enemy launched at least 70 rockets in another massive attack [on Ukraine] this morning,” Zelenskyy said in a video posted on the Telegram messaging app.

“Several Russian missiles passed through the airspace of Moldova and Romania. These missiles are a challenge to NATO and collective security. This is terror that can and must be stopped.”

But in a foreign ministry statement, Romania said authorities had detected an “aerial target launched from the Black Sea from a ship of the Russian Federation” but “at no point did it intersect with Romania’s airspace.”

“The closest the target trajectory got to Romania’s airspace was recorded by the radar at roughly 35km (22 miles) northeast of the border,” the statement continued.

Two Romanian Air Force MiG-21 LanceR aircraft on air policing duty under NATO command were sent towards the north of Romania “to supplement our reaction options”, the statement added.

The statement concluded by saying that the Romanian Air Force is permanently monitoring the national air space and the immediate surrounding area.

Ukraine’s top general had earlier said two Kaliber missiles launched from the Black Sea had entered Moldovan airspace, then flew into Romanian airspace, before entering Ukraine.

For its part, Moldovan officials confirmed detecting a missile that crossed their airspace, and summoned Moscow’s ambassador to indicate what they called an unacceptable violation.

Moldova has already found Russian missile debris in its territory during the nearly year-long Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Wave of attacks in Ukraine

Meanwhile, Russia unleashed a new wave of missile attacks on energy infrastructure across Ukraine on Friday, causing emergency power outages for millions of people and prompting new calls by Kyiv for Western arms.

At least 17 missiles hit the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia in an hour in the heaviest attack since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, local officials said.

Energy minister German Galushchenko said thermal and hydropower generation facilities and high-voltage infrastructure had been hit in six regions, forcing emergency electricity shutdowns across most of the country.

“The most difficult situation is in Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv and Khmelnytskyi regions,” he said, referring to regions in the southeast, northeast and west of Ukraine.

“Thanks to the successful work of the air defence forces and early technical measures, it was possible to preserve the integrity of the energy system of Ukraine. Energy workers are working non-stop to restore energy supply.”

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy company, said four of its thermal power stations had been damaged and two energy workers injured. Water supplies were also hit in some areas, local officials said.

After attacks on many parts of the country, officials said 13 missiles had been shot down over the southern region of Odesa, 10 missiles had been knocked out over the capital Kyiv and four in the Kryviy Rih area of central Ukraine.

There was no immediate word of any deaths but Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said eight people had been wounded.

Source: News Agencies