Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin returned to Moscow with a petition from Transdniestria, a strip of land that broke off from Moldova in 1990, to join the Russian Federation.
“The Russian delegation has … brought home the appeal to the Russian authorities by Transdniestrians. And even if it’s of symbolic rather than legal character it is now important to us,” Rogozin wrote on Facebook.
Since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, Moldova fears the ex-Soviet state might be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next target. Moldova has reached out to the European Union for stronger ties with the West and the EU extended visa-free travel to Moldovan citizens, including citizens in Transdniestra. The West does not recognize Transdniestra as its own country, but it is “home to Russian troops and half-a-million people–30 percent of them ethnic Russians–who look to Russia as their patron.”
Rogozin caused more problems when he threw a fit on Twitter because Romania and Ukraine would not allow his plane to fly in their airspace. His flight was sent back to Chisinau where Moldovan officials searched his plane and “seized a list of names during the search and was analyzing them.” He tweeted out a picture of the alleged petition with Moldovan secret services.
Rogozin managed to anger NATO when he told Romania, a NATO member, he would fly back in a UT-160, which is a Russian jet bomber. After he arrived in Moscow, he said, “Yes, gentlemen, Romanians, we’ll soon all explain who you are and what we think about you.”