Romania’s Minister of Defense has admitted to the discovery of “pieces of a Russian drone” on Romanian territory, specifically in the Danube Delta region. This revelation contradicts previous official denials by both the Romanian military and President Klaus Iohannis.
The controversy began when reports surfaced about an alleged incident involving a Russian drone in the vicinity of the Romanian-Ukrainian border. On the night of September 4, 2023, a swarm of Iranian-made Shahed-136 kamikaze drones was launched by Russia, targeting Ukrainian grain silos in the city port of Izmail on the Danube River. The targets were located a mere 400 meters away from the Romanian riverbank. Rumors quickly emerged that at least one drone overshot its target and fell onto Romania territory.
Initially, the Romanian army and President Iohannis “firmly denied” that drones had landed on Romanian soil. However, the situation took an unexpected twist when Ukrainian authorities released footage supporting their claims. The geolocated video footage depicted a drone explosion on the Romanian side of the Danube River, further fueling suspicions.
“Our partners have tendencies to try not to escalate the interpretation of certain events in order not to be drawn into a direct conflict,” Dmytro Kuleba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, commented at the time.
In response to mounting evidence, Minister of National Defense Angel Tîlvăr held a press conference on September 6, 2023, during which he confirmed the discovery of remnants of a Russian drone within Romanian territory, specifically near the village of Plauru. The Minister acknowledged the seriousness of the situation and expressed concerns about the potential implications for regional security.
“This discovery is a matter of great concern for our national security,” the Minister stated. “We are committed to investigating the incident thoroughly and taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety and sovereignty of our borders.”
The Defense Minister’s admission took place mere hours after the last press conference held by President Klaus Iohannis on the topic, in which he reiterated that “no piece, no drone and no part of a device landed in Romania.”
When questioned whether Romanian authorities tried to hide that information, Tîlvăr said:
“My initial information was based on what was available to me at the time. It was done in good faith and I had nothing to gain. In no way was there an attempt to hide the incident and we did not want to hide the finding of the drone pieces.”