Interview: UK ambassador praises Romania’s response to Ukraine refugees; more important to stop Putin than ‘just protect our own economies’

Foto: Inquam Photos / Alexandru Busca

Britain’s Ambassador to Romania on Monday praised an outpouring of help offered to thousands of Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country after Russia invaded last week.

Russian aggression

Ambassador Andrew J Noble also noted  that Western nations were prepared to pay a price to punish Russia’s aggression „on a sovereign state.”

He said he believed Vladimir Putin wouldn’t have expected “ as massive and united a front as he has provoked” referring to sanctions unleashed on Moscow in recent days.

But the Russian leader is to blame, the UK’s top diplomat in Bucharest said.

“It is (Putin) who has made all agree that he has to be stopped,” to the point where countries are taking measures that will hurt their economies.


„But it is more important to stop him, to remove any reward that he might aspire to get than to just protect our own economies,” the ambassador told

He listed the raft of sanctions such as the decision to  banning cut some Russian banks off the SWIFT financial system, to suspend North Stream 2 or BP’s decision to get out of Russian oil giant Rosneft costing it $25 billion and  closing European airspace.

„These are massive decisions… This is solidarity that free democracies can deliver.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has struck a chord in Romania which was under a Soviet-imposed communist dictatorship until 1989.


“The invasion  touches something deep in most Romanians’ hearts having escaped totalitarianism only 32 years ago. I think, they see Russia again coming in and invading someone who looks just like them. Their fears are: ‘When will it be their turn?’

Rationally, they know they are a member of NATO, the world’s strongest defense alliance. „But emotionally you can’t help putting yourself in the place of that Ukrainian family where the woman and the children need to flee and the man needs to fight for his country.”

„The Romanians are just expressing these feelings through those important gestures of help,” he said.


He praised „a huge outpouring of help from ordinary Romanians from all walks of life,” providing food, toiletries, clothes and opening their homes, transport to „these people who are tragically having to leave their country.”

He spoke after a visit on Sunday to the northern city of Suceava and the Siret crossing point where thousands of Ukrainians have fled hostilities. On the Romanian side of border things “are working extremely well,” he said.

“It is clear Romanian authorities have responded to the challenges and have learned day- on-day and improved their systems.”


Romanians have discussed with their Ukrainian counterparts ways to speed up the slow process of Ukrainians crossing the border. „Things are going very  smoothly now.”

Asked about Mr Putin’s nuclear threat, he declined to comment specifically, and said that  Western nations were taking his attack on Ukraine seriously.

“We are not out of the woods yet;” he said. ” But … the whole of NATO and neutral countries in Europe are determined to put a stop to,” the Russian invasion.

Ukrainians fleeing war find welcome in neighboring Romania



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