MOSCOW, May 15 /ITAR-TASS/. With increased anti-Russian rhetoric from the Romanian leadership it would be inappropriate to expect relations between the two countries to continue to develop constructively, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday, May 15.
“As if by order, the top leadership of Romania, including the president, is stepping up anti-Russian rhetoric. The latest public insulting statements against the President of Russia are absolutely outrageous and unacceptable,” he said. “I think it is hardly appropriate to expect bilateral relations to continue to develop in a constructive manner, in the same spirit and at the same pace,” the spokesperson said.
He recalled Russia’s public and official comments on the way Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin’s plane had been treated by Moldova and Romania’s reaction to the incident. “We voiced our strongest protest to Romania. Representatives of the Romanian authorities tried to make some explanations, but we find them absolutely unconvincing. Such incidents do not add to trust and give no reason to hope for good, normal and good-neighbourly relations between our countries,” Lukashevich said.
Rogozin said Russia would give a strong response to Romania’s statements and actions regarding the incident with the plane that carried a Russian government delegation this past weekend.
“The Foreign Ministry will prepare and think over its reaction and this reaction must be as strong as possible,” he said.
“Romania said today through its Prime Minister Victor Ponta that had the prime minister been in charge of the country, not the president [Traian Basescu], he would have used a jet fighter to force our plane to land in Romania,” Rogozin said.
“There is nothing we can discuss with them after this,” he added.
“It’s one thing when one imposes sanctions against persons so that they do not go there and denies visas to them, and it’s totally different when one forces a plane with several members of the Russian government aboard to land using combat aircraft and air defence systems for that. This goes beyond jokes and beyond any serious and half-serious talk,” Rogozin said.
He said he had discussed the matter with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian ambassador to Romania. “I have also reported this to the prime minister,” he added.
Speaking of the situation where the plane with the Russian government delegation aboard was practically blocked by Romania, Moldova and Ukraine, Rogozin said, “It’s not about the physical security of a concrete person. It’s about the fact that they are questioning the right of Russian citizens working in the governing bodies of the country and representing the government of Russia to fly through the airspace of these countries.”
The plane, Yak-42 of the RUSJET airline, tail number 9602, with the Russian delegation flew out of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, May 10, entered Ukraine’s airspace, flew several kilometres into it, made a U-turn and flew back to Chisinau, according to the Flightradar-24 air traffic monitoring system.
“Romania has closed its airspace for my plane on U.S. demand. Ukraine is not letting us through again,” Rogozin said and stressed, however, that he was not going to cancel trips to Transdniestria. “Next time I will fly by Tupolev-160 [strategic bomber],” he said.
Ukraine closed its airspace for flights to and from Crimea and landings in Sevastopol since the peninsula’s accession to Russia in March of this year. The airspace over Crimea is now controlled by Russia and its aviation authorities.
Russian MP Alexei Zhuravlev said the authorities had explained their actions by the fact that there are persons aboard the plane who have been prohibited from entering the European Union, he said. “They are trying to block our departure from Moldova by all means and so far have given no clear explanations because entering a country and flying over it are different things,” the MP said.
The delegation led by Rogozin was in Transdniestria to participate in celebrations marking the 69th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War.