Moldova confiscates Transnistria petition from deputy Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin
Associated Press in Chisinau, Moldova
Moldovan authorities say they have stopped Russia's deputy prime minister from leaving the country with a petition calling on Moscow to recognise a separatist region, but he claimed yesterday he had delivered most of the signatures supporting it.
Moldova's foreign ministry said that authorities confiscated boxes of signatures from Dmitriy Rogozin at Chisinau airport and would analyse the material.
Rogozin, however, said on his Facebook page that the Moldovan officials "only got a small part" of the signatures. "We have taken due care of the bulk of the cargo," he said, adding that what he called the Moldovan "provocation" will have "serious consequences" for bilateral ties.
Rogozin visited the separatist province of Transnistria, where 1,500 Russian troops are stationed, to celebrate Victory Day on Friday. He offered support to separatists and criticised Moldova's government for seeking closer ties with the European Union.
Transnistria broke away from Moldova in 1990 and is not internationally recognised, but it is supported by Russia.
Romania protested after Rogozin said he would travel on a bomber plane next time after he was denied passage through Romanian airspace while travelling back to Moscow.
"Upon US request, Romania has closed its air space for my plane," he tweeted. "Ukraine doesn't allow me to pass through again. Next time I'll fly on board TU-160." The TU-160 is Russia's largest strategic bomber.
Additional reporting by Reuters