Russian missile crosses Moldova and skims Romania on way to Ukraine

Russian missile crosses Moldova and skims Romania on way to Ukraine

A Russian missile aimed at Ukraine flew over the territory of Moldova and passed close to Romania on Friday, as fears rose that the war could escalate.

Moldova summoned Russia’s ambassador over what it called an “unacceptable violation of our airspace”.

Nato member Romania said it had scrambled jets after detecting the cruise missile passing 35km from its territory.

But it contradicted a Ukrainian claim that the missile had entered Romanian airspace.

The missile, fired from the Black Sea, “flew over the airspace of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and re-entered the Ukrainian air space without ever infringing Romania’s airspace”, Romania’s Defence Ministry said.

The scare was the result of another wave of missile strikes by Russia against Ukrainian infrastructure on Friday, causing power cuts for millions of people.

Most of the 50 missiles fired by Russia were shot down, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal said.

Ukraine’s top commander, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, claimed that two Russian Kalibr missiles had passed through Romania’s airspace, a theory repeated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Any breach of Nato’s airspace would be sure to heighten tensions, while there are concerns about Moldova being dragged into the war.

Moldova’s pro-western Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita resigned on Friday during a political crisis, adding to the country’s concerns.

She said nobody thought her government “would have to manage so many crises caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine”, which have included high energy prices and security threats.

Mr Zelenskyy said on Thursday that intelligence agents had intercepted a Russian plan to “establish control” over Moldova.

Moldova’s Intelligence and Security Service released a statement confirming it had received such a tip-off from Ukraine and said it had also identified “subversive activities”.

The agency has previously warned that Russia could try to create a land corridor from southern Ukraine to the Kremlin-backed breakaway region of Transnistria, in Moldova.

Like Ukraine, Moldova has applied to join the EU despite concerns about corruption and the presence of Russian troops on part of its territory. It is scheduled to host a summit of European leaders in June.

“Russia continues the brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, and missile attacks on a neighbouring country are directly and negatively affecting the citizens of Moldova,” said Moldovan Foreign Ministry spokesman Daniel Voda.

“We strongly reject the recent unfriendly actions and statements in relation to our country, which is also considered absolutely unacceptable by our people.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke of “alarming news” from Moldova after the missile route was revealed.

Romania said the two jets scrambled had returned to their previous mission after the situation was clarified.

Mr Zelenskyy used his trip to London, Paris and Brussels this week to ask for longer-range missiles to counter Russian strikes, as well as fighter jets for Ukraine’s air force.

Nato had a scare in November when a Soviet-designed missile exploded in Polish territory, killing two people. The situation cooled after Poland said it was a stray Ukrainian missile and not a deliberate Russian attack.

Nato last year agreed to set up new battle groups in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia to increase deterrence on its eastern flank.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes