Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday 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.
The revelation comes after NATO member Romania repeatedly rejected claims by Kyiv that Iranian-made Russian drones fell and detonated on Romanian territory during a strike on the Ukrainian port of Izmail on Sunday night.
“Investigators discovered elements resembling drone debris in the evening of 5 September,” the defence ministry said in a press release.
The discovery was made in the vicinity of Plauru, a Romanian village on the other side of the Danube, across from the Ukrainian port of Izmail.
Technical analysis will now be carried out to “determine (the debris’) origin and characteristics”, it added.
After stating that no drone or debris was recovered on its soil earlier this week, Iohannis appeared to row back on Wednesday, calling for “an urgent and professional investigation”.
“If it is confirmed that these elements belonged to a Russian drone, such a situation would be completely inadmissible and a serious violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Romania, a NATO ally,” he said at the start of the Three Seas Initiative summit hosted by Bucharest.
Catalin Drula, opposition leader of the centre-right party USR, accused the government of trying to cover things up.
“They lied for two days. Ukraine told the truth. Their instinct is to sweep it under the rug,” he wrote on Facebook.
Bucharest has strongly condemned the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s Danube infrastructure.
Early Wednesday, one person was killed in new Russian drone attacks on a port district in Ukraine’s southwestern Odesa, close to Romania’s border.
Residents from the Romanian bank of the Danube posted videos and pictures of the attack on social networks.
“People are panicking a bit. There are only 370 metres between our borders,” Timur Cius, mayor of the Romanian border village Chilia Veche, told AFP.
“We heard everything, of course. By now we are already used to the sound of sirens and whatnot,” he said.
“But we feel safe here because we are in a NATO country,” he added.
Following the collapse in July of the United Nations-brokered deal allowing grain shipments from Black Sea ports, Moscow has ramped up attacks on Ukraine’s Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, home to ports and infrastructure vital for agriculture exports.