Romania feels the breath of war: Russians shell Ukrainian ports

Russia’s targeted destruction of Ukraine’s agricultural export infrastructure, particularly in the port of Odessa and Ukraine’s Danube ports, is bringing the war effort dangerously close to NATO and Romania in particular. The river ports of Reni and Izmail, which have become important transhipment points for Ukrainian grain after Russia left the grain agreement, have come under Russian fire again and again. The NZZ reports two attacks this week alone.

In a bid to persuade Russia to return to the grain deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. But the NZZ notes that Moscow, which also wants to isolate Ukraine economically, is not interested in returning.

Drone explosion and growing security awareness

A particular escalation of the conflict occurred on Monday when Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry claimed that a Russian drone had detonated on Romanian soil. While the Defense Ministry in Bucharest immediately denied this information, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba claimed to have evidence to support this claim. The NZZ emphasizes that this incident, regardless of its accuracy, shows the high escalation risk of a Russian shelling of NATO territory.

According to the NZZ, Romania, which already has a high level of security awareness regarding the threat posed by Russia, has increased defense spending to 2.5 percent of economic output this year. However, despite these security measures, there are also tensions between Romania and Kiev, particularly over the transit and import of Ukrainian grain.

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