Tense Situation on Ukraine’s Border: Drones Cause Explosions in Romania
KYIV/BUCHAREST, September 4 (Reuters) – On September 4th, Ukraine reported a strange incident where Russian drones apparently caused explosions in Romania, a NATO member, during a nighttime attack on a Ukrainian port along the Danube River. Surprisingly, Romania quickly denied any intrusion.
Both sides are making claims, but it’s not clear what really happened. This is an unusual situation where events from the Ukrainian conflict affected a neighboring NATO country.
Russia has been attacking Ukraine from the air since their invasion began last year. Recently, they’ve been targeting Ukrainian river ports near Romania’s border, especially after canceling an agreement that allowed Ukraine to use its Black Sea ports.
The Russian aerial attack happened just before President Vladimir Putin was set to talk with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, a key supporter of the Black Sea agreement.
Oleg Nikolenko, Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, said, “Russian ‘Shakheds,’ which are Iranian-made drones, accidentally fell in Romanian territory during a Russian attack near the Izmail port last night.” He also expressed concern about Russia’s missile warfare affecting Ukraine and its neighbors, including NATO members.
Nikolenko shared a photo of an explosion, but Reuters couldn’t confirm its location.
Romania’s Defense Ministry strongly denied any intrusion, stating, “Russia’s attack did not threaten Romanian territory or waters.”
On the international stage, the U.S. State Department is aware of the situation but directed inquiries to the Romanian government. The Pentagon had no comment.
A resident of a Romanian village overlooking the Izmail port said they saw drones and heard explosions but couldn’t make out many details due to the rainy night.
NATO has a rule that an attack on one member is an attack on all. Some believe Romania’s denial might be part of NATO’s strategy to avoid a direct conflict with Russia.
In the past, there have been incidents of Russian munitions affecting neighboring NATO countries. Last November, a misfired Ukrainian missile hit Poland, causing casualties.
After the events on September 4th, there were reports of damage to Ukrainian facilities and fires. This happened just before Erdogan’s meeting with Putin, where they discussed the Black Sea grain export agreement. Russia had withdrawn from the pact in July, hurting Ukraine’s ability to export food through the Black Sea. The Danube River became crucial for Ukrainian grain exports, and Russia has been targeting it.
On Monday, Ukrainian border guards reported drones crossing into Romania near the Izmail port, but Romanian authorities didn’t respond.
Ukraine’s President Chief of Staff, Andriy Yermak, called for more modern defense systems and long-range weapons to counter Russia’s drones and missiles in Ukrainian airspace, saying, “We need better weapons to win against Russia on the battlefield.”