A drone carrying an explosive device was found on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast on Sunday evening, an incident Bulgaria’s defense minister said was likely “related” to the war in Ukraine.
The drone was found on rocks next to a boat mooring in the resort town of Tyulenovo. It’s unclear whether the drone fell from the air and landed there or if it washed up on the coast after hitting the water.
On Monday, Bulgaria’s Defense Ministry said a bomb disposal team detonated the device in a controlled explosion. “We can certainly assume that it is related to the war that Russia launched against Ukraine,” said Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev. “This war is inevitably associated with increasing risks to our security.”
Tyulenovo is about 18 miles south of the Romanian border and about 120 miles south of the section of the Danube River that acts as a border between Romania and Ukraine. Romania, also a NATO member, found suspected drone fragments on its territory after Russian bombardments of Ukraine’s Danube river ports, but Romanian authorities have stressed that their territory is not under threat.
Tyulenovo is also across the Black Sea from Crimea, which has become a major target of Ukrainian drones. According to POLITICO, Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defense Yordan Bozhilov said it’s difficult to determine the origins of the drone found in Tyulenovo and whether it belonged to Russia or Ukraine.
The incident in Bulgaria and the drone fragments being found in Romania highlight the risk of the war in Ukraine escalating into NATO territory. Last year, when a Ukrainian air defense missile hit Poland and killed two people, Ukrainian officials claimed it was a Russian missile in an attempt to get NATO to intervene directly in the war.