World View: Romania Demands Explanation from Russia for Bomber Threat

World View: Romania Demands Explanation from Russia for Bomber Threat

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Romania demands explanation from Russia for bomber threat
  • Russia’s Rogozin says that Moldova seized Transnistria secession signatures
  • Violence increasing in Ukraine ahead of referendum

Romania demands explanation from Russia for bomber threat

Romania’s foreign ministry is demanding an explanation from Russiaconcerning a threat made by Russia’s deputy prime minister DmitryRogozin, after his plane was refused entry into Romania’s airspace, toreturn with a bomber. Rogozin’s plane was refused entry becauseRogozin is on the list of Russian officials who are the targets ofEuropean and American sanctions that were imposed as a result ofRussia’s annexation of Crimea.

Rogozin was returning from Transnistria (Transdniestria), a smallRussian-speaking region within Romanian-speaking Moldova on the farwest border of Ukraine. Activists in Transnistria say they would likerepeat the events in Crimea, and become part of the Russian Federationafter seceding from Moldova. Rogozin visited these activists onFriday as part of the celebration of Victory Day on the 69thanniversary of Nazi surrender on May 9, 1945.

As he left Chisinau Airport in Moldova, Rogozin’s plane first enteredUkraine’s air space, but the plane was met by Ukrainian warplanes andwas forced to return to Chisinau. Next, the plane attempted tocircumvent Ukraine by traveling through Romania and Bulgaria, butRomania refused the request because of the EU sanctions.

In response, Rogozin, who is apparently a heavy twitter use, tweeted:

“Romania has closed its air space for my plane, uponthe U.S. request, Ukraine doesn’t allow me to pass throughagain. Next time I’ll fly on board TU-160.”

The Tupolev TU-160 ‘Blackjack’ bomber is a strategic bomber capable ofdelivering both conventional and nuclear missiles.

Romania’s Defense Ministry responded with the following statement:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken note withsurprise that today, May 10th, 2014 the Russian Federation’sDeputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin tweeted that “Upon USrequest, Romania has closed its airspace for my plane. Ukrainedoesn’t allow me to pass through again. Next time I’ll fly onboard TU-160.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs feels that a Russian Deputy PrimeMinister threatening to use a strategic bomber is a very seriousthreat in the current regional context where the RussianFederation has violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorialintegrity and separatist forces are committing grave violations ofpublic order in the neighboring state.

In this context the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests that theauthorities in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry, providepublic clarification whether the statements quoted from DeputyPrime Minister Rogozin are the official position of the RussianFederation with regard to Romania as a Member State of the EU andNATO.

At the same time the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds thatRomania has unequivocally supported the sanctions regime instatedby the European Union with respect to actions that undermine orthreaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty andindependence.”

There are still a couple of mysteries surrounding this saga. First,how did Rogozin travel from Moscow to Chisinau on Thursday. VOR saysthat his plane traveled through Bulgaria and Romania, but didn’texplain why he was permitted to do that. Second, how did Rogozintravel back from Chisinau to Moscow? VOR says he’s back in Moscow,and speculates that he took an ordinary passenger plane. Voice of Russia and Romania Ministry of Defense

Russia’s Rogozin says that Moldova seized Transnistria secession signatures

There’s apparently more to the above story about the travels ofRussia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin. Rogozinis claiming that when Ukraine’s warplanes forced Rogozin’splane to make a U-turn and return to Chisinau airport inMoldova, boxes of signatures collected by secessionistactivists were seized. According to a Rogozin tweeton Saturday:

“Moldovan security services are on our plane andseizing boxes with Transdniestrian people’s signatures forreunification with Russia.”

It’s been reported for several weeks that secessionists have beencollecting these signatures, hoping to force a referendum that wouldpermit Transnistria to secede from Moldova and join the RussianFederation, following the example of Crimea. But if Rogozin’s tweetis correct, then all of those boxes of signatures have now fallen intothe hands of Moldovan security forces. Itar-Tass (Moscow) andNew Eastern Europe Journal

Violence increasing in Ukraine ahead of referendum

Pro-Russian separatists plan to go ahead with secessionist referendumsin two cities, Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine on Sunday,despite a call on Wednesday by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin topostpone the referendums. It’s now believed by many politicians thatPutin’s call was made to protect himself from further Westernsanctions, rather than for any desire to see the referendum calledoff.

This follows a day of violence in the city of Mariupol ineastern Ukraine, which resulted in 20 deaths following clashesbetween government forces and anti-government activists.Putin did his best to fire up pro-Russian nationalistsentiments by coming to Crimean and speaking to the screamingcrowds:

“There is a lot of work to be done, but we willovercome all the difficulties because we are together. This meanswe have become even stronger, and I congratulate you on the greatvictory.”

Putin said he was sure that 2014 would become known in history as theyear Crimea’s people decided to return to Russia and the memory oftheir ancestors. CNN andVOA

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