The Romanian defense ministry reported on Tuesday that the surveillance system of their Air Force had spotted an aerial item that seemed to be a weather balloon in the nation’s airspace.
Ten minutes after the sighting, two MiG 21 LanceR aircraft were sent to the location in southeast Romania, but they were unable to confirm the presence of the item, according to the ministry. They also noted that the balloon was flying at a height of 11,000 meters.
The incident in Romania took place in the middle of a diplomatic crisis between the United States and China after the American government’s shooting down of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on February 4.
The crews of the aircraft reportedly stayed in the region for 30 minutes before returning to base after failing to receive visual or radar confirmation of the target, according to the defense ministry.
Although the Romanian government did not explicitly link the events in its statement, the sighting in Romania took place on the same day that Moldova, which borders Romania and Ukraine, temporarily closed its airspace for unspecified safety concerns.
Moldova Detects Suspicious Flight
A day after accusing Russia of conspiring to topple its government, Moldova briefly closed its airspace on Tuesday to examine reports of a balloon-like object in the sky.
President Maia Sandu, who has regularly voiced alarm about Russia’s intentions towards the former Soviet republic since it was invaded by Russia in February 2022, made the charge. However, Russia denied it.
According to Moldova’s civil aviation authority, it took action after learning from the defence ministry that a small item resembling a weather balloon had been spotted above the country’s northern region, close to the Ukrainian border.
It claimed in a statement that the airspace had been restricted “given the weather conditions and the impossibility of monitoring and identifying the object and its flight path.”
After authorities determined there was no danger to citizens’ safety, the closure was canceled an hour and 22 minutes later.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, declared last week that his nation had discovered a Russian intelligence plot “for the annihilation of Moldova.” The government of Moldova resigned a few days later.
The Russian ambassador was summoned to protest after Moldova claimed on February 10 that a Russian missile had breached its airspace during an attack on Ukrainian infrastructure.