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10 Feb, 2023 12:32

NATO member rebukes Ukrainian claim about Russian missile

Romania has rejected a suggestion from Kiev that a Kalibr projectile crossed its airspace
NATO member rebukes Ukrainian claim about Russian missile

A key Eastern NATO state has dismissed a statement from Ukraine’s top military official which accused Russia of launching a missile over its territory. Romania said on Friday that the claim was false.

Valery Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, had insisted that two Kalibr cruise missiles, fired by a Russian warship in the Black Sea, had passed through Ukrainian airspace, then crossed into Moldova and later Romania, before re-entering Ukraine.

However, neighboring Moldova's Defense Ministry said a missile had entered its airspace near the town of Mocra in the breakaway region of Transnistria. The time of the alleged violation coincided with that which Zaluzhny reported.

Moldova’s defense ministry said a missile had entered Moldovan airspace near the town of Mocra in the breakaway region of Transnistria. The time of the alleged violation coincided with that which Zaluzhny reported.

The ministry said the projectile crossed back into Ukraine over the town of Cosauti in the Soroca district. Cosauti is located about 120 kilometers from the point where the borders of Ukraine, Moldova and Romania meet.

While the statement did not attribute the missile to Russia, the Moldovan foreign ministry did point the finger at Moscow. It stated it had summoned the Russian ambassador in Chisinau, Oleg Vasnetsov, to protest the violation of the country's airspace.

The Romanian Defense Ministry however, denied the claim that its airspace had been violated. It reported tracking a missile launch from a Russian warship near Crimea that briefly traversed Moldovan airspace before re-entering Ukraine. The missile's trajectory was no closer than 35 kilometers from the Romanian border, the statement said. The military briefly diverted two MiG-21 from a NATO air patrol mission, it added.

The Russian government did not immediately comment on the claims.

In mid-November, senior officials in Kiev accused Russia of deliberately striking Polish territory during a missile attack on targets in Ukraine. Two civilians were killed in a border village during the incident. President Vladimir Zelensky urged “collective action” against Russia.

Warsaw later said that the projectile was most likely a Ukrainian anti-aircraft interceptor. Ukraine doubled down on the allegations, though Zelensky then admitted he was not “100% sure” who the rocket belonged to.

Moscow stressed that images of the border village crash site clearly identified the projectile as a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile.

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