Romania remains invisible in the media - while the country surpasses itself in the Ukraine-Russia war
Created: 05/15/2022, 06:04
By: Aleksandra Fedorska
A woman demonstrates against the Ukraine war in front of the Russian embassy in Bucharest, Romania.
© Andreea Alexandru/dpa
Romania is not the focus of the media when it comes to taking in the refugees.
The country does a lot for Ukraine.
There is disagreement on the issue of arms deliveries.
Bucharest – According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), almost six million people have fled Ukraine since the war began.
Poland, with 3.2 million people seeking protection, and Romania, with 889,000, have helped most of the refugees in the escalating Ukraine conflict.
The challenge of providing accommodation, medicine and other necessary goods is hard to imagine.
It is all the more difficult for a country like Romania, which is one of the poorest countries in the EU.
In Romania, which has almost 20 million inhabitants, almost every twentieth person is a war refugee from Ukraine.
In addition, Romania is helping neighboring and much poorer Moldova to take in refugees.
This "poorhouse of Europe" has taken in over 450,000 people.
This means that almost every fifth inhabitant there is now a Ukrainian.
Ukraine-Russia-News: Romania remains invisible in the media - while the country is growing beyond itself in the war
Romania helped Moldova with 100 million euros at the height of the refugee crisis in March.
In addition, Romania delivered heating oil and other goods to Moldova so that the many refugee accommodations could be heated.
Romania also supports Moldova politically when it comes to possible EU accession.
“From this perspective, the submission of the applications for EU membership by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia demonstrates the determination of these states to be part of the Union, a goal that Romania strongly supports.
Together with the countries of the Western Balkans, which are already at different stages of the accession process, the accession process should be revived and completed,” said Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu.
In the European media, however, there are hardly any reports about the hospitality and political activities of the Romanians.
Even in Germany, where 610,100 Ukrainians were admitted by the end of April, little is reported about Romania's special achievement.
The media seem to underestimate the strategic and political importance of this country, which has been a member of NATO since 2004 and a member of the European Union since 2007.
Russian Attack on Ukraine: Heavy Fighting on Romania's Doorstep - Significance of Snake Island
Ukraine and Romania share a 601-kilometer border.
Added to this is the very important strategic location on the Black Sea.
Both states were only finally able to settle their conflicts regarding the sea border in 2009 before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
At that time, the whereabouts of today's heavily contested snake island was up for discussion.
In this region, gas and oil deposits are suspected under the seabed, in which both countries were interested.
The court ruled that Snake Island should belong to Ukraine, but Romania can use the gas and oil resources provided the country respects a 12 nautical mile radius around the island as a Ukrainian economic zone.
With Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the military conflict is taking place in the immediate vicinity of Romania - the strategically very important Snake Island is less than 45 kilometers from the Romanian coast.
Russia wants to strengthen its presence on Snake Island because it can gain strategic advantages in order to be able to control the Ukrainian coastal region in the south and thus the most important remaining Ukrainian port of Odessa.
But a Turkish drone is blocking Putin's success on Snake Island.
The Black Sea ports are the main transhipment points for grain exports.
Grain is shipped from Ukraine to the Middle East and North Africa via these ports.
Ukraine is one of the most important grain exporters in the world.
Agricultural revenues accounted for over 40 percent of Ukraine's total export earnings in 2021.
In order to be able to guarantee at least a minimum level of deliveries, Romania is helping Ukraine by shipping the grain via the Romanian Black Sea port in Constanza.
Romania in the Ukraine war: Beware of arms deliveries to Kyiv
While countries like Estonia and Poland were brisk in supplying arms and thus provided crucial military assistance to Ukraine, Romania held back for a long time.
Material that was less important during the Ukraine war, such as helmets and protective vests, was delivered.
According to the government in Bucharest, it has donated 2,000 ballistic helmets and 2,000 bulletproof vests worth two million euros to Ukraine.
On May 11, it was decided to send Ukraine protective and surveillance materials and equipment against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks.
“Romania is not currently supplying arms to Ukraine.
On the contrary, I believe that we managed the refugee problem very well and consistently helped Moldova,” said Marcel Ciolacu, leader of the Socialist Party at a press conference at the end of April.
Russia has repeatedly accused Romania of bringing weapons systems across the border into Ukraine.
Romania's Defense Ministry has denied Russia's claims that arms and ammunition were being shipped to Ukraine via Romania.
"These allegations are a gross distortion of reality," ministry officials said.
A change in the law that could legally enable arms deliveries to Ukraine has been under discussion in Romania since the end of April.