LATEST: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday has now called for an "urgent investigation" into debris of what it believed to be a drone, which was discovered on its soil following attacks in neighbouring Ukraine.
"Investigators discovered elements resembling drone debris in the evening of 5 September," the defence ministry said in a press release on Wednesday evening.
A Russian kamikaze drone hit NATO territory and detonated, Romanian defense minister Angel Tilvar said on Wednesday, directly contradicting his boss President Klaus Iohannis who maintained there was no evidence of such an event.
The Romanian CNN affiliate Antena 3 broke the story, citing Tilvar by name as confirming the Russian weapon had hit Romanian territory during the early morning hours of a Sept. 4, as part of dozens of Russian strikes by attack drones against targets in neighboring Ukraine.
Tîlvar spoke to CNN's Romanian affiliate, while visiting the site of the drone strike on Wednesday.
Romanian President Klaus Ionnis in a Tuesday statement doubled down on the original denial, saying: “There was no piece, no drone, no other part of any device that reached Romania, we have total control over our national space. I checked absolutely everything and I can reassure the population”.
The President’s statement was also endorsed by the defense ministry in a Tuesday statement which declared the country’s air space was well-watched and Romanian territory fully protected. At the same time the Romanian official statement said that Russia’s invasion and continuing aircraft, missile and drone strikes against Ukraine are “unjustified and in deep contradiction with the norms of international humanitarian law.”
On Monday Russia launched a 25-drone attack on targets across Ukraine of which, 10-15 flew along the Danube River en route to targets in the Ukrainian river ports Izmail and Reny, according to Ukrainian military reports. The river marks the border between Romania and Ukraine.
The Kremlin is currently targeting Ukrainian grain storage and loading facilities in the latest redirection of its brutal air assaults which began against Ukraine in October 2022.
In an interview with Antena 3, Romanian military analyst Radu Tudor said that searchers found pieces of a Russian attack drone in Romanian territory near the Danube River, and accused the Romanian military of potential negligence for declaring that no Russian weapon reached Romanian air space during the early morning raid, never mind missing the obvious evidence of a crater in a field. One of them actually hit Romania territory and detonated, Tudor said.
He went on to say “What surprises me in an unpleasant way is that the institutions lied before checking on the spot.”
Tudor told the CNN affiliate: “The President of Romania should have made this statement after on-site checks. I am extremely unpleasantly surprised that this did not happen. I don't think you can give official denials if you haven't done spot checks.”
Tudor voiced his concerns that the Ionnis’ government’s failure to respond professionally to the strike of a Russian weapon on Romanian territory is particularly troubling, because “If the military authorities decide that it was an intentional strike, we have to protest very seriously on the diplomatic line, to the Embassy of the Russian Federation and further to the authorities in Moscow, obviously, with the consultation of our NATO allies.”
As a NATO member Romania is protected by NATO’s Article Five, guaranteeing that all members of the Atlantic Alliance will take on an aggressor who attacks any single member. Ukraine, not a member of NATO, traded its nuclear arsenal during the 1990s in exchange for Kremlin promises to respect Ukrainian sovereignty and borders.
The CNN report did not confirm Tudor’s allegations.
The France24news agency showed images of a field, near the Danube River, in Romania, with a black crater purportedly caused by an explosion during the early morning hours of Sep. 4 on Wednesday. The report also repeated comments by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymytro Kuleba stating Kyiv was positive one Russian drone struck Romanian territory and that Ukraine had hard evidence to prove it.
Ukrainian open-source military information platforms, many with eighteen months of real conventional war experience identifying and confirming reports of Russian weapons strikes on Ukrainian territory, have almost without exception reported the Russian drone hit Romania, no matter what the Romanian President said.
The usually highly-reliable @Geoconfirmed published geolocated images, which the research group said, showed exactly where the drone hit on the Romanian side of the border directly across the Danube River opposite the Ukrainian city Izmail.
A new wave of Russian drones hit Ukraine overnight, with weapons concentrating on the capital Kyiv and the Black Sea port city Odesa. One drone hit port facilities in Izmail, killing one Ukrainian, local news reports said.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter