A car smashed into the gate of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, around 6 A.M. Wednesday, but it did not make it into the Embassy compound. The aftermath video revealed that the car was engulfed in flames, while security officers rushed across the area. According to the police, the firefighters who arrived on the scene were able to put the fire out, but the driver was killed on the spot.
Bogdan Staicu, the prosecutor of the case and on the scene at the time, told reporters that a variety of containers containing toxic substances were found in the vehicle. They will be scrutinized by forensic experts. The crash is under investigation, and an autopsy is scheduled to be performed, according to the prosecutor.
In a statement issued following the incident, the Russian Embassy expressed condolences to the family members of the driver. “We must state with regret that whatever the motives of the driver,” the statement read, “there is no doubt that he committed this act under the influence of an explosion of anti-Russian hysteria in connection with a staged provocation in the city of Bucha.”
The Embassy stated that there were no injuries to employees.
Russia’s ambassador in Romania, Valery Kuzmin, spoke to the Russian state-owned TV channel that the embassy located in Bucharest had “repeatedly” received threats by email, according to official news source Tass. “The atmosphere that has been gradually forming here is very tense,” Kuzmin stated.
Romania has a long border with Ukraine and has taken in more than 600,000 refugees after Russia invaded its neighbor. Since the war began on February 24, protesters have gathered outside the Russian embassy in Moscow calling for an end to the Russian offensive.
This week, Romania ordered 10 diplomatic staff to be exiled from the embassy following a string of deportations of Russian officials from all 27 countries of the European Union. The country’s foreign ministry said the actions of the 10 embassy employees who were declared persona non grata “contravene the provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relationships.”
The incident occurred just two days after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to Romania's parliament on Monday. He labeled the killing of civilians in the town of Bucha, Ukraine, as a “war crime” and called for more severe penalties against Russia.
Prior to Zelensky's speech, Romania's President of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu stated that the “horrible images” that emerged after Russian troops left Bucha “overwhelmed and revolted us all.”