Bystroye Canal scandal re-ignites: the Romanian Ministry of Transport accuses Ukraine of starting the dredging of the Bystroe Canal, which will destroy the Danube Delta entirely.
Bystroye Canal is not to be used for transport, but Ukraine is not at its first attempt to make it a navigable canal. Though on Ukrainian territory, the Bystroye canal endangers the Danube Delta’s whole ecosystem if enlarged. Danube Delta is home to more than 320 species of birds and mammals, on most of its surface, on Romanian territory. Precisely, 3,446 km² of the Danube Delta are in Romania, and it grows each year by the alluvium the Danube brings along.
This is the context of the accusations from Romanian authorities, who told the press that recent information shows the Ukrainian part started dredging the Bystroye Canal.
There are signals that, at this moment, there are dredging works on Bystroye, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment must come up with a firm statement and report on the developments.Romanian Ministry of Transport, Sorin Grindeanu on the works of the Ukrainians on Bystroye Canal
Diplomacy seems not to work in this case, though. The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered no reaction to the accusations of the Governmental official. On the other hand, the war with Russia is the perfect pretext for the Ukrainians to justify any course of action and to start dredging the Bystroye Canal, presumably to help their crippled economy.
The dormant conflicts between Romania and Ukraine
This is not the only dormant conflict between Romania and Ukraine. Although Romania helped Ukraine in the conflict, there had been a series of dormant conflicts between the two parts, even before the war began. One of them was for Snake Island, or better said, for the continental plateau of Snake Island. The significant natural resources made this the subject of a dispute, and solution in the Hague, at the International Court of Justice. Snake Island remained Ukrainian, but Romania acquired almost 80% of its continental plateau.
Another conflict is the right of the Romanian minorities living in the South of Ukraine. A former Romanian territory confiscated by the Soviet Union, Northern Bukovina and Hertza Region is home to a Romanian minority whose rights are systematically violated. The diplomatic protest of the Romanian authorities against the minority law in Ukraine had no success, and Zelensky is more concerned about the course of the conflict than about the Romanian minority in Ukraine.
The third and most recent conflict is for cereals. The solidarity with the Ukrainian people seriously hit the Romanian and Polish agriculturers, as the Ukrainian cereals cost 20% less than the Polish ones, for example. The problem is not only the cost but also the fact that the Ukrainian producers have no respect for European laws. Herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals detected in the Ukrainian cereals could threaten European consumers, but the solidarity with the Ukrainian people seems to justify anything.
A reaction from the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected in this case, but this institution is infamous for very late reactions and poor results. Their latest failure regards Schengen accession, as Romania has been outside the free economic area for many years. Chances are that Romanian diplomacy does very little or nothing in this case for fear they might upset the European Commission or the allied forces supporting Ukraine.
One thing is sure, as we mentioned in a previous post: Zelensky started losing its popularity in Romania, even though Romanians still support Ukraine in its conflict with the Russian Army. The Romanian minority rights in Ukraine, the Bystroye Canal dredging, the attempts of the Ukrainian officials to involve Romania in the war, the cereal problems and all these latent conflicts erode the trust of the Romanian people in the good intentions of the Ukrainians when relating to Romania.