NATO Deputy-General Secretary Mircea Geoana has sought to ease tensions concerning potential Russian attacks on Romania, a NATO country.
Geoana said there is “no risk” that Romania will be dragged into Moscow’s war with Ukraine.
Concerns were raised after Russia recently targeted the major Ukrainian port of Izmail with armed Iranian-made drones, called Shakheds. Fragments landed in Romanian territory, just across the Danube.
The charge d’affaires of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Romanian capital Bucharest was urgently summoned on September 9 to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs following the identification of pieces of the drones.
Romania condemned what is said were the systematic, unjustified and brutal attacks by Russian forces against the Ukrainian population and civil infrastructure, including the one on the Danube near the border with Romania, which put Romanian citizens at risk in the vicinity.
NATO has sought to reassure Romania. “The most important thing is to re-confirm the fact that there is no indication of a deliberate action [by Russia] to strike Romanian territory and therefore NATO territory,” Geoana told journalists on September 11 while visiting an area near Romania’s capital, Bucharest.
“When you hear the sounds of war a few hundred metres from your home, from the place you work, it will generate emotion and anxiety,” said Geoana, a former Romanian foreign minister. “But there is no risk for Romania to be engaged in this conflict.”
On September 9, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said the incident was “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”.
Geoana sought to counter growing alarm. “I want to reassure the Romanian public and especially those on the Danube border with Ukraine that there are no reasons to worry,” he said. The NATO official said he intended to visit the affected areas of the Danube as a message of “confidence and calm”.
In August, Romania was rocked by a major explosion as Russian sea mines came close to shore, which was deemed unintentional. The targeting by Russia of Ukrainian harbours at the border carries more risk, as Russian drones and rockets are renowned for their lack of accuracy and have already caused significant collateral damage in Ukraine.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said recently that the allies had seen “other incidents, in Poland and elsewhere”, but did not go into further detail.
Under NATO’s collective security guarantee, Article 5, the 31 member nations vow to act as one to help any Ally if it is attacked.