Romania sets up counter-drone defense systems closer to border with Ukraine

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has said that a system to counter drones has been established on the border with Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports: "The system to counter drones is in position, as they say, and it works. We already have equipment to fight drones".
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Explosion of a Russian drone on Romanian territory on 4 September (Picture source: Facebook page of Nikolenko)

The Romanian president said that improvements to the entire system are ongoing to prevent accidents involving the fall of drones used by Russia to attack Ukraine's south. Iohannis added that radars are now able to detect targets at much lower altitudes than before: "You know, the problem before was that radars could only detect targets above 600 metres. Now this level is much lower, almost the ground level".

The Romanian Defence Ministry previously concluded that the drones that fell on Romanian territory were accidents but can no longer be tolerated. They were Russian drones shot down by Ukraine's air defence.

Let us recall that, in early September 2022, an incident occurred along the Romanian-Ukrainian border that caught the attention of both countries and the international community. It involved the unexpected appearance of Russian military drones on Romanian soil.

The story began when a routine patrol by Romanian border guards near the northeastern town of Siret detected several small drones flying low and erratically near the border. Suspecting a possible border violation, the guards immediately contacted their Ukrainian counterparts to coordinate their efforts.

As the drones continued their flight path, they began to lose altitude, indicating technical issues. Within hours, the first of the drones fell onto Romanian territory, crashing into an open field. The border guards quickly secured the area and began examining the wreckage.

Soon after, another drone fell a few kilometers away. This pattern continued for several days, with a total of seven Russian drones crashing on Romanian soil. Each drone was a quadcopter equipped with cameras and surveillance equipment.

The Romanian government promptly informed Russian authorities through diplomatic channels about the incidents and invited them to retrieve their downed drones. Simultaneously, Romanian intelligence agencies conducted investigations to determine the purpose of the Russian drones' presence in the region.

After thorough examination of the crashed drones, Romanian authorities concluded that they were reconnaissance and surveillance drones, equipped with advanced technology for collecting information and monitoring activities along the border. The presence of Russian military drones in Romanian airspace raised concerns about potential violations of sovereignty and security.

Russian authorities acknowledged the loss of the drones and claimed they had accidentally crossed the border during a training exercise. They apologized for the incursion, stating that it was not intentional. In response, Romania requested assurances from Russia that such incidents would not occur in the future.

The incident highlighted the delicate balance of power and tension in the region, where territorial integrity and national security are of paramount importance. While the Russian drones' presence in Romania was deemed accidental, it served as a reminder of the need for vigilance and cooperation among neighboring nations to maintain peace and stability along their borders. Romania then decided to move its air defence systems closer to its villages on the Danube River bordering Ukraine.

Defense News October 2023