Moldova: Controlled detonations carried out on rocket debris

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Authorities in Moldova said Sunday that specialist teams have carried out “controlled detonations” of explosives that were discovered in parts of rocket debris that border officials found in a northern village near the country’s border with Ukraine.

Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement that an on-site investigation turned up about 80 kilograms of explosives in the remains of the rocket discovered Saturday in the Briceni district village of Larga.

Bomb squads from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense later performed the controlled explosions, and authorities extended the security zone around the debris, the interior ministry said.

Photographs posted on the ministry’s Facebook page Sunday show what appears to be a large cylindrical object loaded with white powder. The ministry has not said when the rocket was fired or who fired it but said it originated “from Russia’s air attacks on Ukraine” and that Ukrainian authorities were informed.

“All the evidence accumulated as part of the on-site investigation will be transferred, as agreed, to the specialized prosecutors,” the interior ministry said.

Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita reacted to the incident Saturday by condemning Russia’s latest attacks on Ukraine and expressed her “indignation for the disrespect of the sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova” after its “airspace was overrun again today.”

It is the third such incident to have raised alarm in Moldova. In late October, a Russian missile landed in the border town of Naslavcea, and last month missile debris was found in an orchard in another town close to the border with Ukraine.

In late June, Moldova was made a candidate for European Union membership on the same day as Ukraine.

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McGrath reported from Sibiu, Romania.

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