The ambassador of Ukraine, summoned to the MFA to give explanations in the Bystroye Canal

MFA requests that Ukraine urgently let Romanian ships enter the Chilia Branch and the Bystroye Canal to see what the Ukrainians are doing.

After the ambassador of Ukraine went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday for explanations after the post of the Ministry of Infrastructure in Kyiv regarding the deepening of the Bâstroe canal, the MFA stated in a press release that, during the meeting, the Romanian side requested, as an emergency, the agreement of the Ukrainian side for the access of the Romanian hydrographic vessels of the Lower Danube River Administration in the Ukrainian waters of the Chilia branch.

“During the meeting, the Romanian side requested, as an emergency, the agreement of the Ukrainian side for the access of the Romanian hydrographic vessels of the Lower Danube River Administration to the Ukrainian waters of the Chilia branch in order to carry out bathymetry, sedimentation and flow measurements on the entire bed of the Chilia arm, which forms the border between Romania and Ukraine, to identify the morphological changes that have occurred on the Chilia branch since 2005,” says a MFA press release.

“The ambassador of Ukraine showed that the Ukrainian side does not carry out dredging activities aimed at deepening the waterway, but only activities of an operational nature aimed at ensuring navigability up to the port of Izmail, its navigation parameters being included in the public communication of the Ministry of Communities , Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine. The Ukrainian side also indicated that the need to ensure navigability on the Chilia arm and the capacity of the river ports of this state (in particular the port of Izmail) arose in the context of the blockade imposed by Russia on the port of Odesa. The Ukrainian side expressed full openness to resuming the dialogue at the technical level, with the aim of clarifying all the elements of interest and establishing cooperation within this project, taking into account the interests of both parties, including those derived from the need to protect the environment of the Danube Delta,” the MFA in Bucharest also reported.

Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă had said on Monday that the ambassador of Ukraine had been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for explanations after the post of the Ministry of Infrastructure in Kyiv regarding the dredging works in the Bystroye Canal.

“Today, the ambassador of Ukraine will be present at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he will be asked that in the next period the Romanian authorities receive approval for the verification of the works being done. It is about the execution of works that have an environmental impact on the Danube Delta. We have to check and confirm these data“, said PM Nicolae Ciucă.

Amid scandal related to the deepening of the Bystroye Canal, which Romania opposes and which the Ukrainian authorities say is “only for maintenance”, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine stated, in a post on Twitter, that the navigation depth of the Bystroye Canal has increased from 3.9 to 6.5 meters, for the first time since the declaration of the country’s independence. The ministry’s message contradicts the Ukrainian embassy’s statements on Saturday.

For the first time during Ukraine’s independence, the draft passing through the Bystroye Canal has increased from 3.9 to 6.5 m. It is a great opportunity for the capacity of the Danube River and the turnover of export ports. We continue to develop the Danube port cluster together with our European partners”, reads the post published on Twitter on Friday.

The message was published a day before the Ukrainian embassy in Bucharest stated that all works “are carried out exclusively within the state border of Ukraine” and “exclusively aim at the maintenance of the waterway”.

Later, a press release with the same message was also published on the website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure.

“According to the order of February 16, issued by the port of Izmail, the passage draft of ships in the section from kilometer zero of the Bâstroe mouth of the Danube to kilometer 77 of the Chilia mouth is 6.5 meters, and from kilometer 77 to kilometer 116 of the estuary – 7 meters. At the beginning of the Russian invasion, the maximum draft was only 3.9 meters. The removal of the sediments was done as part of the EU program «Solidarity Lanes», aimed at promoting the development of alternative logistics routes for Ukrainian exports. “The Danube port area has significantly developed its export capacity in the last year. Only in March last year, the movement of goods in the ports of Izmail, Reni and Ust-Danure increased three times. Of these, more than 17 million tons of products were exported, including more than 11 million tons of food products. As a result of this dynamic and the problems that still persist with exports through seaports, the development of the infrastructure of the Danube region is a priority domain of our activity. 

As part of this work and thanks to the successes of the Ukrainian Army in the Black Sea, we have already opened the Bâstroe estuary for maritime transport and increased the transshipment potential of the ports. We are also continuing dredging works on the Ukrainian side of the Danube. We have succeeded in increasing the allowable draft of ships for the first time since independence. Thanks to this, we will be able to ensure more efficient and safer maritime transport between the Black Sea and the Danube, and we will be able to increase the flow of goods transport through the ports on the Danube. We thank our European partners for supporting this project of ours within the «Solidarity Lanes» program,” said Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Prime Minister for the Reconstruction of Ukraine – Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure.

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