Romania tightens aviation restrictions along its border with Ukraine

Flight restrictions have been put in place by Romania along parts of its air space that borders Ukraine due to the increased attacks by Russia on Ukraine's Danube river ports. The defense ministry announced this on Thursday, and it was revealed that drone fragments had been found in Romania three times this month after Russian attacks. 


This highlights the security risks for NATO, which has a mutual defense commitment, as the attacks have intensified. Since mid-July, Russia has increased its attacks on Ukraine's river ports across the Danube from Romania after abandoning a year-old deal that lifted a de facto Russian blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports. Although there is no indication that Russia is targeting a NATO member, NATO has expressed concerns that the strikes near the border could be destabilizing. 


Romania first enforced restrictions along the border with Ukraine in May last year for up to 8 km inside national air space, up to a height of 1,000 meters. On Thursday, the defense ministry announced that it has enforced additional restrictions between its Danube river ports of Sulina and Galati for up to 30 km inside national air space, up to a height of 4,000 meters. 

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The statement from the ministry said that "Manned or unmanned aircraft are not allowed in these restricted areas, except for state aircraft ... and emergency situations." The ministry added that the intensified Russian attacks on Ukraine's river ports made it necessary to extend restrictions to ensure more efficient monitoring and control of air space. Following the discovery of drone fragments on Romanian soil, Romania's foreign ministry has summoned the Russian charge d'affaires twice. The defense ministry plans to deploy additional troops to the southeastern region of Romania near the border and increase patrols and observation points to prevent risks to local residents. Ukraine is one of the world's biggest grain exporters, and the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta is now one of Kyiv's largest alternative export routes, with grains arriving by road, rail, or barge across the Danube.

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