NATO member Romania finds new drone fragments on its territory from war in neighboring Ukraine

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — NATO member Romania found new drone fragments on its territory Saturday near the border with war-torn Ukraine, which the Ministry of National Defense said are “similar to those used by the Russian army.” It was the second such discovery in Romania this week.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis responded Saturday by saying in a statement that the findings indicate there has been “an absolutely unacceptable violation of the sovereign airspace of Romania, a NATO ally, with real risks to the security of Romanian citizens in the area.”

Iohannis added that he had a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to inform the Alliance leader of the new finding of the drone pieces. It was unclear if Romanian authorities had determined when or from where the drone was launched.

Stoltenberg wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that there was “no indication of intent” to hit the NATO member nation, but said the findings “are destabilising.” “I welcome the US decision to deploy more F-16s for NATO air policing,” he said. “We stand in solidarity with Romania.”

The Romanian defense ministry said that the fragments were found approximately two and a half kilometers (1.5 miles) southeast of the Romanian village of Plauru, which is situated on the opposite side of the Danube to Ukraine’s port of Izmail.

There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Russia has persistantly attacked the Izmail port this week as Moscow aims to disrupt Ukraine’s ability to export grain to world markets. The proximity of the attacks has left some Romanian citizens living nearby fearing that the war could spill into their country.

“The area has been secured by the military, and the discovered elements will be picked up for analysis and technical expertise,” the defense ministry said Saturday, adding it will continue investigations in the vicinity of Ukraine's Danube ports.

“Within NATO, Romania is very well defended and benefits from the strongest security guarantees in our entire history,” Iohannis added.