Romania reports possible airspace breach during Russian attack on Ukraine
The Washington Post September 30, 2023
NATO member Romania reported a possible violation of its airspace during an overnight Russian attack in neighboring Ukraine, saying it had not found debris on Romanian territory but would continue the search on Saturday.
The Romanian Army’s radar system detected “a possible unauthorized” breach of the country’s airspace after registering “groups of drones heading toward Ukrainian territory” near the border as Russia conducted “a new series of attacks on some targets in Ukraine,” Romania’s defense ministry said.
Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure on the banks of the River Danube, which runs along the border with Romania, have renewed concerns of a potential escalation of the conflict in recent weeks. Romania said it found drone fragments on its territory this month, although it did not suggest this was an intentional attack. Still, the spillover to countries neighboring Ukraine has caused jitters in NATO, for which a mutual defense clause means that an attack on one member can be considered an attack on all.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effect across the globe:
• Romania’s Ministry of National Defense said police were deployed near the border where the potential breach was detected. The statement said residents there received warning alerts that were lifted later in the night. Romania began building some air-raid shelters near the Ukraine border after finding the suspected war debris earlier this month.
• Ukrainian intelligence recruited a Russian military service member and carried out a special operation to move him into territory under Ukrainian control after he switched sides, Ukrainian officials told a news conference. The Russian soldier has cooperated with Ukrainian forces and intelligence since June, according to Ukrainian state media.
• Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated Saturday the Day of Reunification, marking one year since Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions. In a speech, he claimed that Ukrainians had chosen to “be with their fatherland” and that the annexation had complied with international norms. The annexation violated international law and was rejected by world leaders and the United Nations as unlawful. Only two countries, North Korea and Syria, have recognized the annexation as legitimate, the U.K. Defense Ministry noted on X, saying, “The world has chosen to #StandWithUkraine.”
• The European Union’s Josep Borrell Fontelles visited the Ukrainian city of Odessa in a show of support on the anniversary Saturday, condemning the annexation in a video recorded from a local cathedral. “A year has passed since Russia’s illegal annexation,” Borrell Fontelles, the body’s high representative for foreign affairs, said on X. “Ukraine has every right to defend itself against the Russian aggression and regain full control of its territory. The EU stands with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
• Russian authorities in Kursk have reported strikes and shelling nearly every day over the past week. A Ukrainian drone strike on a substation in the Russian border region on Friday briefly left 5,000 people without electricity. Power was restored Friday evening, according to the regional governor. Russian regions in the country’s west have sought to bolster air defenses as Ukrainian forces grow more brazen, The Washington Post reports.
• President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv is negotiating with allies on joint weapons production in Ukraine, adding that this was a key outcome of his recent talks with President Biden in Washington. Zelensky made the comments at an international defense industry conference which Kyiv hosted - part of efforts to boost weapons production inside Ukraine and help reduce reliance on foreign deliveries as Western allies deplete their stocks.
• Slovakia is holding an election Saturday that has the potential to complicate the Western response to Ukraine, The Post’s Loveday Morris and Ladka Bauerova report from Bratislava. The front-runner in polls by a whisper of a margin is Robert Fico, a populist former prime minister whose campaign has been laced with pro-Russian and anti-American discourse.
• Norway will start banning Russian-registered passenger cars from entering the country as of next week, echoing sanctions imposed by E.U. nations. Norway, which has a long border with Russia, is a member of NATO but not the European Union. The Norwegian government said the ban will stop Russian-registered passenger cars with nine or fewer seats from entering, with some exceptions, while buses and minivans will still be able to enter at one border crossing.
• A Russian drone attack in a town in Ukraine’s Vinnytsia region sparked a fire, prompting authorities to order a limited evacuation of residents near the site as they extinguish the flames, the Vinnytsia governor, Serhiy Borzov, said Saturday on Telegram.
• Russian air defense systems shot down nine rockets launched by Ukraine over Russia’s Belgorod region overnight, according to the Russian defense ministry.
Loveday Morris and Amar Nadhir contributed to this report.