(Reuters) -Parts of what could be a Russian drone fell on Romanian territory, Romania’s Defence Minister Angel Tilvar said on Wednesday, two days after Ukraine said Russian drones had detonated on the NATO member’s land.
“I confirm that pieces which might be the elements of a drone were found,” Tilvar told Antenna 3 CNN broadcaster.
He added the area had not been evacuated because there was nothing to suggest that the parts posed a threat. He said the pieces would be analysed to confirm their origin.
Kyiv had said on Monday that drones detonated in Romania during an overnight Russian air strike on a Ukrainian port across the Danube River.
The defense and foreign ministries along with President Iohannis Klaus all earlier denied reports of the drones detonating on Romanian territory and said Russian attacks did not cause a direct threat to Romanian territory.
Tilvar reiterated that message of no direct threat on Wednesday.
He told Agerpres it was possible the drone did not explode upon impact but rather it simply fell or pieces landed on Romanian territory.
“(That) does not make us happy, (…) but I don’t think that we can talk about an attack and, as I said before, I think we need to know how to distinguish between an act of aggression and an incident,” Agerpres quoted him as saying.
A ministry spokesperson said search teams had been in the area for several days while the minister and other defense officials talked to residents.
Moscow has conducted long-range air strikes on targets in Ukraine since the start of its invasion last year.
Since July, when Moscow abandoned a deal that lifted a de facto Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, it has repeatedly struck Ukrainian river ports that lie across the Danube from Romania.
The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said on Monday the incident had shown the need to increase supplies of modern air defence and long-range weapons to deprive Russia of the ability to launch drones and missiles at Ukraine.
Ukraine has reported suspected Russian weapons flying over or crashing into neighbours, including NATO members who have a mutual defence agreement, several times during the war.
In the most dramatic incident, two people were killed in Poland by a missile that fell near the border last November; Poland and NATO allies later said it was a misfired Ukrainian air defence missile.
(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Luiza Ilie and Jason Hovet, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)