A Russian missile intended for a target in Ukraine landed in nearby Moldova in a dangerous “spillover” incident.
On Monday morning, Moscow launched a massive wave of missile attacks across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv.
The object that fell in the village of Naslavcea, in the north of Moldova, is believed to be one of those missiles, which either malfunctioned or was damaged by Ukrainian air defences.
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Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, tweeted that the Russian strike targeted a Ukrainian dam on the Nistru river, which runs first through Ukraine and then through Moldova.
“Attacks on water infrastructure and ensuing stress on the river could put the entire region in danger of floods,” he wrote.
He added: "Moldova condemns in strongest possible terms Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine.
“The appalling strikes on critical infrastructure reverberate beyond Ukraine's borders and pose a direct threat to Moldova’s energy – and human – security”
It’s not the first time the Russia-Ukraine conflict has “spilled over” into neutral territory. In March, an unidentified object, believed to be a Russian-built drone, crashed into a street on the outskirts of the Croatian capital, Zagreb.
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Such incidents risk sparking a wider conflict. Croatia joined NATO in 2009 and while Moldova is not a full NATO member the eastern European country joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1992.
In this most recent incident, no casualties have been reported, but several buildings have been damaged.
Earlier this month, the Moldovan government accused Moscow of violating its airspace with missile attacks destined for Ukrainian territory.
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Mr Popescu said on that occasion that Russian cruise missiles launched across the Black Sea "crossed Moldova’s airspace", adding: that he had demanded that Russia ’s ambassador offered an explanation for the illegal act.
Naslavcea is close to Moldova’s border with Ukraine.
The two Ukrainian cities of Chernivtsi and Vinnytsia, both of which were targeted on Monday by Russian missiles, are both only a couple of hours away by car and the distance can be covered in a matter of minutes by a 550mph cruise missile.
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