War in Ukraine: from the port of Constanta, the Romanians scrutinize the situation in Odessa

Nelly and Dan take advantage of a sunny spell to take a walk on the famous seafront in Constanta, Romania, but they have a hard time taking their minds off things. "My children are in Germany, they don't live in Romania , explains Nelly. They phone us five times a day to find out if things are going well." From this Romanian port city, we follow the Ukrainian situation very closely. Odessa is only 300 kilometers away  and the major Black Sea port is a new point of concern in the war in Ukraine . 

War in Ukraine: from the port of Constanta, the Romanians scrutinize the situation in Odessa
A Romanian military boat is moored at the port of Constanta, March 4, 2022. Illustrative photo. (DANIEL MIHAILESCU / AFP)

The Romanians follow the situation with attention because the Russian tanks approach Odessa. If the city falls, the Russians will very quickly find themselves at their border. From this weekend, the Romanians robbed the banks to take euros and dollars. Local authorities in Bucharest have asked residents to clean out their cellars or locate other shelters near their homes.

"I can't leave my city, my country and go somewhere else, it's hard, very hard."

Dan, resident of Constanta

Nelly and Dan tried themselves to help the refugees, they do not see themselves leaving their town. “We too are worried, we are very agitated , confirms Dan. We have no guarantee that Putin will stop. It is true that with the NATO base nearby, we have a feeling of security but you can't help but think of World War III." Twenty kilometers from Constanta, the Romanian military base Mihail-Kogalniceanu has been made available to NATO. This is where several thousand alliance soldiers, including 500 French, have been stationed.

“People are starting to ask questions”

Mircea observes the freighters in the distance. Thirty ships are queuing at the entrance to the port. All his life, Mircea sailed on these bulk carriers, so he has an eye: "Maybe among them there are some that were supposed to go to Odessa, because the port is closed." He says he is rather quiet but the atmosphere has changed a bit around him. "There is no problem at the moment but people are starting to ask questions and wonder what will happen next week, or in a month. We have to be attentive" , insists Mircea.

Mircea does not believe in a Russian invasion in Romania, protected by NATO forces a few kilometers from his home. "I hope they won't be so crazy to cross the border ," he says. But just in case, he knows where to take refuge: "I live in a block and we have shelter against air attacks. If necessary, we can go there."  Mircea thinks of his dozen friends in the ports of Odessa and Mariupol of whom he has no news.


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