Ukraine Claims Russian Drones Hit NATO Member Romania, Bucharest Denies Report

By Reuters
September 4, 2023Russia–Ukraine Warshare
Ukraine Claims Russian Drones Hit NATO Member Romania, Bucharest Denies Report
A large boat travels along the Danube in Izmail, Ukraine, on Aug. 20, 2023. (Getty Images)

KYIV/BUCHAREST—Ukraine claimed on Monday Russian drones had detonated on the territory of NATO member Romania during an overnight air strike on a Ukrainian port across the Danube River, but Bucharest denied its territory had been hit.

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

Russian launched its air strike hours before President Vladimir Putin was due to discuss reviving the Black Sea deal with the deal’s sponsor, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

“According to Ukraine’s state border guard service, last night, during a massive Russian attack near the port of Izmail, Russian ‘Shakheds’ fell and detonated on the territory of Romania,” foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko claimed, referring to Iranian-made drones.

“This is yet another confirmation that Russia’s missile terror poses a huge threat not only to Ukraine’s security, but also to the security of neighbouring countries, including NATO member states,” he wrote on Facebook.

Mr. Nikolenko published a photo showing flames of an explosion visible from across a river. Reuters could not immediately verify the vantage point of the image.

The Romanian Defence Ministry said Romania was not hit.

“The ministry of defence categorically denies information from the public space regarding a so-called overnight situation during which Russian drones would have fallen in Romania’s national territory,” it said.

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

NATO has a collective defence commitment under which the military alliance considers an attack on one ally to be an attack on all allies.

Meanwhile, officials in Kyiv said Monday’s attack damaged Ukrainian warehouses and set buildings ablaze, hours before Mr. Erdogan was due to meet Mr. Putin in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi. Turkey, also a NATO member, has sponsored the Black Sea grain export deal and Mr. Erdogan has said he expects to persuade Mr. Putin to rejoin it.

Russia quit the deal in July that had allowed Ukraine to safely export food via the Black Sea during the war.

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