Ukraine Claims Russian Drones Crashed in Romania Amidst Regional Tensions

Estimated read time 2 min read

Ukraine has accused Russia of sending drones into Romanian territory during a series of attacks on a nearby Ukrainian city.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba presented photographic evidence to support Ukraine’s claim after a press conference in Kyiv. However, Romania has disputed Kyiv’s account of events, and the authenticity of the images remains unverified by BBC Verify.

The dispute unfolded as Russian and Turkish leaders engaged in talks. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Russian city of Sochi, aiming to persuade President Vladimir Putin to reinstate a deal allowing Ukraine to safely export grain via the Black Sea.

Mr. Putin insisted that the deal, abandoned by Moscow in July, would not be reinstated until Western sanctions on Russian agricultural produce were lifted. However, he did announce Russia’s intention to provide free grain to six African nations and offer free logistics support.

The conflict over the grain deal is at the core of the disagreement between Ukraine and Romania concerning the crashed drones. Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s port facilities along the River Danube, seeking to obstruct Ukraine’s grain exports through the river.

With most ships unable to access Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, Moscow appears determined to hinder Kyiv from establishing alternative trade routes.

Sunday night’s attacks on the port of Izmail followed Russian drone strikes on the nearby port of Reni. The incidents prompted a war of words between Ukraine, which asserts that one or more drones landed in Romania, and the Romanian government, which denies the occurrence.

Romanian Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu acknowledged the risk but stated that no incidents had transpired within Romania’s borders.

Mr. Kuleba, expressing frustration, asserted that the situation was “absolutely obvious” and suggested that some of Ukraine’s partners were looking the other way to avoid involvement in the conflict.

If indeed a Russian drone landed on Romanian soil without interception, it would mark the first time Russia has directly, albeit unintentionally, affected a NATO member state.

BBC Verify has examined an image and video purportedly depicting the incident, both of which were shared on social media by Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visual evidence, captured at night over a forested riverbank, is of poor quality due to low resolution and blurriness in some parts.

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