CHISINAU: Moldovan authorities said they have stopped Russia's deputy prime minister from leaving the country with a petition calling on Moscow to recognize a separatist region, but he claimed Sunday he had delivered most of the signatures supporting it.
Moldova's Foreign Ministry said late Saturday that authorities confiscated boxes of signatures from Dmitry Rogozin at Chisinau airport and would analyze the material.
Rogozin, however, said on his Facebook 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 the bilateral ties.
Rogozin visited the separatist province of Trans-Dniester, where 1,500 Russian troops are stationed, to celebrate Victory Day on Friday. He offered support to separatists and criticized Moldova's government for seeking closer ties with the European Union.
Trans-Dniester broke away from Moldova in 1990 and is not internationally recognized, but is supported by Russia.
Romania protested comments by Rogozin saying he would travel on a bomber plane next time after he was denied passage through Romanian airspace Saturday while traveling back to Moscow.