Bucharest has “categorically” denied Ukrainian claims that a Russian drone flew into the NATO nation’s territory and exploded after hitting the ground.
Oleh Mykolenko, Kyiv’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said on Sunday evening that at least two Russian kamikaze drones aimed at the west Ukrainian port city Reni, on the Danube River, missed their targets and flew into neighboring Romania.
"According to the Ukrainian state border guard service, last night, during a massive attack by Russia near the port of Izmail, Russian Shahed (drones) fell and exploded on the territory of Romania," Mykolenko was quoted by the news agency Reuters as saying.
“This is yet another confirmation of the fact that the terror of Russian missiles is a huge threat not only to the security of Ukraine, but also to the security of neighboring countries, including NATO member states," Mykolenko said.
He posted a photo purportedly showing flames from an explosion on the opposite bank of the Danube River. According to the Reuters report, a Ukrainian shipping industry source confirmed two Russian drones fell on the Romanian bank of the Danube River.
Romanian and Ukrainian media on Sunday widely published a photograph posted by Mykolenko purportedly showing a Russian Shahed drone exploding on the Romanian side of the Danube River.
During a mass overnight Russian attack near the port of Izmail, Russian Shahed attack drones crashed and detonated in Romania, reported the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, @OlegNikolenko_, citing information from the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine pic.twitter.com/wdiXsByXxJ— Hromadske Int. (@Hromadske) September 4, 2023
But on Monday morning, Romania’s Ministry of National Defense in an official statement “categorically” rejected the report, saying: "Structures with responsibilities of the Ministry of National Defense monitored in real time the situation generated by the Russian drone attacks, both last night and Saturday to Sunday, on the infrastructure in the vicinity of the Ukrainian ports on the Danube.
“At no time did the means of attack used by the Russian Federation generate direct military threats to Romania's national territory or territorial waters.”
Romanian sea, land and air defense forces are operating at a level of “enhanced vigilance” in cooperation with allied forces, the statement said.
Russian strike planners launched an estimated 25 kamikaze drones at targets across Ukraine early Saturday morning.
A day later, early Sunday morning, Kremlin troops launched a second wave of drones, reportedly numbering 32 aircraft, and primarily targeting Ukraine’s western Izmail and Odesa regions.
The aircraft came in waves lasting three hours. The southern Ukrainian cities Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro also were hit, news reports said.
According to a Ukrainian air force statement, some of the Russian drones during the Sunday raid flew an ingress route northwards along the Danube River, skirting Romanian/NATO air space.
According to statements by both Russian and Ukrainian officials, “fuel storage facilities” in Reni, across the Danube River from Romania, were a primary Kremlin targets for the Sunday attack.
Oleh Kiper, a spokesman for the Reni port authority, in a statement said the Russian drones came in “a massed strike” and that two port workers were injured.
Ukrainian military spokesmen claimed 22 Russian drones shot down nationwide on Saturday, and 23 drones shot down on Sunday.
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