Parts of what could be a Russian drone fell on Romanian territory, Romania’s Defence Minister Angel Tilvar says, two days after Ukraine said Russian drones had detonated on the NATO member’s land.
Romanian officials had earlier denied reports of drones falling on Romanian territory and said Russian attacks in neighbouring Ukraine did not cause a direct threat.
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Tilvar told local news channel Antena 3 CNN on Wednesday that parts of what was most likely a drone were discovered in the eastern Tulcea county, an area of the Danube that forms a natural border between Romania and war-torn Ukraine.
“I confirm that in this area, pieces that may be of a drone were found,” he said, adding that the pieces did not pose a threat.
He said the area had not been evacuated because there was nothing to suggest that the parts were dangerous and said the pieces would be analysed to confirm their origin.
Kyiv had said on Monday that drones detonated in Romania during an overnight Russian air raid on a Ukrainian port across the Danube River, where attacks had increased since July when Moscow abandoned a deal that lifted a de facto Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
Speaking in Bucharest on Wednesday at the start of a summit of the presidents of Three Seas Initiative countries, Iohannis said the attacks were war crimes happening a “small distance” from Romania’s border.
“If it is confirmed that the components [found] belong to a Russian drone, such a situation would be inadmissible and a serious violation of Romania’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
“We are on alert and in constant contact with our NATO allies,” he added.
Tilvar reiterated there was no direct threat and told Agerpres it was possible the drone did not explode upon impact, but rather it simply crashed or pieces landed on Romanian territory.
“[That] does not make us happy … but I don’t think that we can talk about an attack and, as I said before, I think we need to know how to distinguish between an act of aggression and an incident,” Agerpres quoted him as saying.
A ministry spokesperson said search teams had been in the area for several days while the minister and other defence officials talked to residents.
Moscow has conducted long-range air raids on targets in Ukraine since the start of the war last year, and Ukraine has reported suspected Russian weapons flying over or crashing into neighbours several times.
In the most severe incident, two people were killed in Poland by a missile that fell near the border last November; Poland and NATO allies later said it was a misfired Ukrainian air defence missile.