Romania vs. Ukraine: what’s going on with the Bystroye Canal?

Sursa foto: wikipedia

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca has stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) will convey to the ambassador of Ukraine to Romania on Monday that Romanian authorities request approval for the verification of the works carried out in the Bystroye Canal.

„There are several institutions that are responsible for monitoring and verifying the activity at the Bystroye Canal. I have held discussions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Transport. Each of them has the duty to conduct checks before initiating other steps than those that have been made public until this moment, which is why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Transport, initiated the verbal notes to the Embassy of Ukraine in Bucharest, a response was received specifying that maintenance works have been carried out and today the ambassador of Ukraine will be present at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he will be requested that in the next period the Romanian authorities receive approval for the verification of the works”, said Ciuca.

He stated that the works „have an impact on the environment, they have an impact on the Danube Delta”.

„At this time, please allow us to verify and confirm this data. None of the institutions we have spoken of can confirm this data until we are at the [Bystroye] Canal and we are able to verify and perform depth measurements as they were executed”, said the prime minister. He explained that the works carried out at a depth of 3.5 meters are for maintenance, and those that exceed this limit means deepening the Canal.

Ciuca further declared that „any overstepping” of the scope of maintenance works along the Bystroye Canal will be clarified between Romania and Ukraine and that the European Commission will be notified if this happens:

„The exchange of documents between the Romanian and Ukrainian institutions, including the latest response of the Embassy of Ukraine in Bucharest, shows the works were intended for maintenance, not for deepening the navigable waterway. (…) All of our institutional steps were aimed at maintaining the activities of the Ukrainian side along the Bystroye Canal within the limits of maintenance works. Any overstepping of this scope will be clarified between the Romanian and Ukrainian authorities and the European Commission will also be notified. (…) We are having as concrete as possible discussions with the Ukrainian authorities. Foreign Minister Aurescu has spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart Kuleba on Saturday and they clarified as best as possible what is going on”, Ciuca said.

He also mentioned that he has no information about the works on the Bystroye Canal having allegedly been carried out with European money, nor about Ukrainian plans to build a hydropower plant in the Bystroye area.

„What is for certain is that last year, according to the documents made available by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, there was no agreement of the Foreign Ministry in this respect”, Ciuca added.

Further, „We have discussed with our Ukrainian partners and neighbors, as well as with the Commission, and Romania is making the Sulina Canal available from all points of view, contributing to everything that means using the navigable waterway to the maximum. There is a whole series of steps underway and we hope that in a short period of time we will be able to also ensure night navigation along the Sulina Canal and then the traffic would become fluid and run within normal limits”, Nicolae Ciuca explained.

He mentioned that he asked all the competent authorities to check from a technical point of view how the navigation on the Danube canals unfolds.

The prime minister noted Romania’s request transmitted through the Embassy of Ukraine, that the Ukrainian authorities grant permission for Romanian ships equipped with the necessary technical instruments to check the depth of the canal, including on the Ukrainian side.

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