Romanians Urged to Take Shelter as Russian Drones Target Ukrainian Ports

As tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine, residents living close to the border in Romania have received emergency alerts warning them about potential drone attacks from Russian forces targeting Ukrainian ports across the Danube. The Romanian government, however, has assured its citizens that the risk of a cross-border escalation is minimal. Nevertheless, the military is taking precautionary measures by setting up makeshift concrete shelters in the affected areas.

Early Wednesday morning, residents in eight villages in eastern Romania began receiving messages on their phones, urging them to remain calm and seek shelter due to the possibility of falling objects from the surrounding airspace. The Romanian defence ministry detected a group of drones heading towards Ukrainian ports just across the Danube and issued the warning based on “possible cases of drone impact” in areas around Tulcea and Nufaru.

Residents in border villages have reported frequently hearing drones flying over Romanian territory, and it is a common belief that the sirens wail when the drones are approaching. The constant presence of these drones has created a sense of unease among the population, with one resident describing the experience as feeling like an earthquake when a drone gets near.

Romania has condemned Russian attacks on grain infrastructure in Ukrainian ports as “unjustified and in serious contradiction with the rules of international humanitarian law.” The defence ministry has also discovered fragments of a drone similar to those used by the Russian army, further supporting their claims. Despite initially rejecting reports of Russian drone parts landing on its territory, Romanian authorities have now made three separate discoveries of possible fragments and are investigating their origins.

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu emphasized that Romania is not the intended target of these attacks, but rather the wreckage of a drone that was hit by the Ukrainian army landed on Romanian soil. Ciolacu urged the population to remain calm and not succumb to fear. However, to address the concerns of residents, the government has commenced the construction of two makeshift concrete structures in the border area for residents to seek shelter if necessary.

The Russian bombing campaign against Ukrainian ports along the Danube, which are in close proximity to NATO members like Romania, has raised concerns of the war in Ukraine escalating beyond its western borders. In response to the attacks, the Ukrainian military claimed to have shot down 32 drones in the latest assault, while several civilians were reported injured.

It is essential for residents in the affected areas to remain vigilant and follow the instructions provided by the authorities during these challenging times. The Romanian government is taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its citizens by constructing shelters and investigating the origins of the drone fragments.