An unexpected military incident occurred in the area of Feteşti, Ialomiţa County, Romania, after the soldiers taking part in a large-scale NATO exercise entered tanks into the agricultural crops of the people, stiring panic among the workers.
Farmers working on a plot witnessed a real tank invasion by crops of wheat, sunflower and corn.
People say they tried to talk with the soldiers in military vehicles, but they were ignoring them and continued advancing through cultures.
The landlord claimed the incident to the police. The lawmakers came up after a while and told local people that it was a NATO exercise, and the military were taking the wrong coordinates, mistakenly entering on the private land.
The locals also say that the militaries would have begun to shoot with blind bullets during the exercise, workers from a nearbyhighway checkpoint get scared and fled.
"Around 13.30, while we were harvested in the barley culture, near us, in a corn harvested area, I heard bangs and smoke signals, believing that a fire was started. We moved quickly over there and we went over the army cars that were doing an exercise inside our culture.
I did not know it was a NATO exercise. People have panicked. We have not been notified by any authority. We entered the area between the tanks, but they didn't notice us, they defied us, continuing their exercise. They came from sunflower into corn, then into wheat. We made signs by hand, but even we were near their tanks, no one seamns to be noticing us. We called 112. I panicked. Some people have left the field of fear. The police reacted peacefully, they did not seem impatient.
Later I received a phone call from a person, while I was trying to avoid being hit by the tanks, who said that we would get in touch and that we would be compensated. I don't know who an how that will be. It was verbal. Around 17:00, they left the field. During this time, they did their military operations with us, people, among them," said the engineer Liviu Mereuţă, the land owner, for a romanian television.
Romanian Army officials sent a press release on the incident:
"Thursday, June 20, at about 14 o'clock in the Ialomita Island area, during the Saber Guardian Multinational Exercise Training 19, US Army militants who were traveling in bad weather crossed, by mistake, with the armored fighting technique provided by an agricultural area, resulting in the destruction of some crops. The area in question was not on the agreed travel route with the local authorities and the economic agents owning land in the area.
A committee of representatives of the NM and the US Army investigates the circumstances in which the incident occurred. Around 18.30, a meeting of the representatives of the committee with the City Hall and the owners of the land took place at the town hall of Stelnica, for assessing the damages, establishing the compensation amounts and the manner of granting them in accordance with the national legislation and the bilateral agreements in force "according to the Romanian Ministry of Defense communiqué.
Between 3-24 June, several NATO military exercises take place in the territories of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia, coordinated by the US Force Command deployed in Europe. So far, there have been several major incidents on the Romanian territory, a soldier being seriously injured after a night passage in Buzau County, and a minibus in which NATO officials were overturned, also within the Buzau County.