Fact Check: Romania Is NOT Rapidly Building Transport Corridor For Ukraine

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: Romania Is NOT Rapidly Building Transport Corridor For Ukraine For Romania

Is Romania building a transport corridor to support Ukraine in view of its grain crisis and the recent border blockade by neighboring countries such as Poland? No, that's not true: The road in question is the Moldova highway (A7), a project that began in 2020 and is intended to connect the southeastern part of Romania with northern Siret, which also borders Ukraine.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by user @iondragoshoreaba2023 on January 9, 2024, under the title (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) "You should all end in smoke."

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jan 16 08:32:14 2024 UTC)

The man speaking in the video read the headline of an article published on the Romanian website Aktual24.ro (archived here). He claims that the construction vehicles seen in the main image of the article are building a fast transport corridor for Ukrainian grain, and criticizes the move (as translated):

For 34 years they didn't build anything for Romania, they didn't hurry. Now they are hurrying, for the Ukrainians. ... Everything for the Ukrainians, nothing for the Romanians.

The Romanian website quotes the Ukrainian Odessa Journal (archived here), which in turn quotes the local Romanian newspaper Ziarul de Vrancea (which translates as the Vrancea Newspaper) (archived here). The latter announces that the Ploiești - Buzău - Focșani - Pașcani - Siret (A7) highway, known as the Moldavian highway, will connect the Moldavian region (the northern part of Romania) with the rest of the country, facilitating transportation and developing road infrastructure.

The Moldova highway is an older project: Tenders for the commissioning of construction companies began in 2020, and most of the construction work on the individual sections began in 2022 (archived here). The construction will be financed by the National Program for Reconstruction and Resilience (PNRR), which foresees the completion of the works by 2026. This is stated in the official PNRR document on transport, PNRR Romania - Sustainable Transport - Objectives.pdf (archived here).

Once completed, the road will be an important link with Ukraine across the Siret border and could support the reconstruction of the country, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Sorin Grindeanu said in September 2023, but the aim of the highway is not to reach Ukraine. It is primarily intended to boost the economy in northern Romania, the so-called Republic of Moldova.

The image in the TikTok video, which shows many construction vehicles in a field, is a screenshot of drone footage posted to YouTube (archived here), according to a reverse image search (archived here) conducted by Lead Stories on January 11, 2024. According to the YouTube user who uploaded the video in October 2023, he filmed an afternoon shift change of construction vehicles working on the Moldovan highway.

Recent news about the highway (archived here) states that it has received the largest share of the 2024 budget of the Ministry of Transportation and is thus a priority. However, there is no indication that the reason for this prioritization is other than to complete the work by 2026, as mandated by PNRR funding.

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