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Ukraine Protests Romania's Tighter Danube River Control

Kyiv, 15 October 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The Ukrainian government today urged Romania to discuss their border situation, which has raised tensions between the two countries.

The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Vasyl Baziv, said recent Romanian actions forcing the captain of a Ukrainian vessel to change course as it sailed on the Danube River between the two countries was not acceptable.

"Such actions by the Romanian side contradict the accord [on border procedures] between our countries, create unsafe conditions for navigation on the Danube River, and endanger human lives. It is particularly alarming that the Romanian side avoids discussing the situation on the Ukrainian-Romanian border." There was no immediate response from the Romanian government to the comments.

This week, Romania deployed 13 additional vessels to patrol the Danube border with Ukraine after Ukrainian boats allegedly crossed the border illegally four times this month.

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated in recent months after Ukraine decided to begin work on a new navigable route in the north of the Danube Delta by widening and deepening a small canal.

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