Russian drone fragments found over NATO border in Romania

Video of a small Russian boat before it is struck by a Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 drone

On Wednesday, Romania’s Defence Minister reported the discovery of apparent remnants of a drone, believed to be linked to Russia’s recent attacks on Ukraine’s Danube River port.

Romania, a member of NATO, shares a border with war-torn Ukraine.

Angel Tilvar, the minister, informed the local news channel Antena 3 CNN that fragments of what appeared to be a drone had been located in the eastern Tulcea county, situated along the Danube River, which serves as a natural boundary between Romania and the conflict-stricken 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.

Tilvar’s statements follow Romania’s Ministry of National Defense’s firm rejection of claims made on Monday by Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Nikolenko had asserted that Russian-launched Shahed drones had fallen and detonated on Romanian soil.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also refuted these claims on Tuesday, asserting that the attacks had occurred “verified 800 metres from our border, so very, very close.”

In response to the minister’s comments, President Iohannis has called for an “urgent investigation” to shed light on the situation.

“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.

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Romania briefed its NATO allies Wednesday about the find at a meeting of the 31-nation organisation’s envoys in Brussels.

“The Romanian authorities have confirmed that debris, possibly from a drone, has been found on Romanian soil, close to the border with Ukraine,” NATO spokesperson Dylan White said in a statement.

“Allies expressed strong solidarity with Romania,” White said. “We continue to monitor the situation closely, and we remain in close contact with our ally Romania.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, 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 defences in neighbouring 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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