Romania’s defence ministry confirmed that pieces of a Russian drone were found on its soil – sending tensions soaring.
Defence minister Angel Tilvar told local news channel Antena 3 CNN 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 didn’t pose a threat.
It’s unclear if Romania has determined when or from where the drone was launched. Ukraine claimed to have video evidence of a Russian drone landing in Romanian territory and detonating following a recent attack.
Tilvar’s comments come after Romania’s Ministry of National Defense “categorically denied” claims made on Monday by the spokesperson of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Nikolenko, who said that Shahed drones launched by Russia on Sunday night fell and exploded on Romanian territory.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also denied those claims on Tuesday, saying that the attacks were “verified 800 meters (yards) from our border, so very, very close”.
On Wednesday, Iohannis responded to the minister’s comments by saying he had requested an “urgent investigation.”
“If it is confirmed that these elements come from a Russian drone, such a situation would be completely inadmissible and a serious violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Romania, a NATO allied state,” he said at the Three Seas Initiative summit in Bucharest.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year in February, there has been only one other recorded incident of the war spilling into a NATO member state. That was when a missile struck a farm in Poland, killing two people. Polish officials later said it appeared to be unintentional and was probably launched by air defenses in neighboring Ukraine.
“In a fairly short period of time there were a series of attacks that Russia made against Ukrainian port facilities and warehouses,” Tilvar said. “Which is why I think it is important to strengthen vigilance measures.”
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