Romania builds concrete shelters near Ukraine border after series of Russian drone crashes

Romania builds concrete shelters near Ukraine border after series of Russian drone crashes
Romania's defence ministry is building shelters in Tulcea county close to the border with Ukraine. / MAPN
By bne IntelliNews September 14, 2023

The Romanian army is building concrete shelters to protect the population in areas near the border with Ukraine after fragments of three suspected Russian drones were found on its territory. 

Most of the drones were found close to the Ukrainian port of Ismail which, along with Ukraine’s other Danube ports, has been repeatedly targeted by Russia in an effort to stop Ukraine from exporting its grain crop and other products after the Black Sea grain deal collapsed. 

Given the risk to the populations of border areas, the Defence Ministry announced on September 13 that it has started building population protection spaces in the town of Plauru, Tulcea county. 

Photographs shared by the defence ministry show prefabricated concrete tunnels reinforced by sandbags. According to the ministry they are 9.6 m long, 2 m wide and 1.5 m high. 

Construction was launched in line with a resolution issued by the National Committee for Emergency Situations on September 7 on the “adoption of protective measures in the national territory in the immediate vicinity of the conflict zone in Ukraine”. 

In the latest incident, remnants from a possible Russian drone were identified by the Romanian army in Tulcea county on September 13, after a RO-Alert message warned residents of possible objects falling.

It is the third such incident reported this month after other suspected drone parts were found on Romanian soil on September 5 and September 9. While the two drone fragments were found close to the border with Ukraine, this third one was found much deeper into Romanian territory and only 800m from a military unit.

The Romanian army started searching for the drone in the morning of September 13 after two locals from Tulcea reported an explosion, as a result of the Russian attacks carried out on the night of September 12 to 13 on Ukraine's ports on the Danube.

"The mixed research and verification team dispatched today, September 13, in the district approximately 1.5 km East of Nufaru township, Tulcea County, picked up evidence on the spot for analysis and technical expertise," a defence ministry statement said. 

"From the first data transmitted, it turned out that the fragments in question are from a drone similar to the ones used by the Russian army. The process of expertise continues to determine the circumstances of producing this incident.

"The Ministry of National Defense reiterates the fact that the attacks of the Russian Federation on Ukraine's port infrastructure from the Danube, carried out near the border with Romania, are unwarranted and in grave contradiction with the rules of international law," the statement added. 

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) announced on September 13 that it will urgently summon the head of the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation in Romania, Valery Kuzmin, due to the identification of new drone fragments.

On the same day but before the finding of the third drone fragments, the charge d'affaires of the Russian embassy in Bucharest was summoned to the MAE headquarters as a result of the identification of fragments of drones similar to those used by the Russian army in  Ukraine in Tulcea county.

Secretary of state Iulian Fota conveyed a firm protest against the violation of Romania's airspace again and asked the Russian side to immediately stop the attacks against the Ukrainian population and civil infrastructure.