Moldova’s ambassador to Moscow Andrei Neguta was summoned to Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday after his government declared Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin a persona non grata.
Rogozin was forced in mid-air on Friday to cancel his official visit Moldova to meet with the country’s president, Igor Dodon.
As the S7 airlines plane carrying Rogozin approached Romania, that country unexpectedly denied it entry into its airspace, the deputy prime minister said in an interview with pro-Kremlin channel NTV. Rogozin’s plane, low on fuel, was forced to land in Belarus.
On Wednesday, Rogozin lashed out at businessman Vladimir Plahotnius, leader of Moldova’s Democratic Party of Moldova, accusing him of masterminding the incident with Romania.
Plahotnius, a pro-European politician, has called for the removal of Russian troops from the breakaway region of Transdnestr in eastern Moldova.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was concerned that “not only high-ranking Russian representatives and peacekeepers, but also ordinary citizens of both countries are targets of provocations.”
The ministry concluded by saying that “such dangerous actions can have a serious destabilizing impact on the overall situation in the region and in Europe as a whole,” adding that certain forces inside Moldova’s political establishment were trying to thwart a peaceful settlement in Transdnestr.
Following Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin was among top Russian officials impacted by an EU travel ban.