BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Russia's deputy prime minister "deliberately" tried to enter Romanian airspace despite knowing he is on a list of officials banned from the European Union, Romania's foreign minister said Monday that
Teodor Melescanu told Antena 3 news channel: "In my opinion, it was a deliberate act to create problems between Romania and Russia."
Russian Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin abandoned a trip to Moldova Friday after his plane was barred from entering Romanian and Hungarian airspace. Both countries are EU members.
Rogozin is one of the most senior Russian officials slapped with an EU visa ban in 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea.
He was traveling on a commercial flight to the Moldovan capital, Chisinau It had to land in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, because it was running out of fuel.
In a tweet Rogozin said Romanian authorities "put lives of the passengers, women and children at risk" by forcing the plane to divert. He warned the Romanian government: "You wait for an answer, bastards!"
Melescanu, however, denied that authorities had put endangered lives, and claimed Rogozin "wanted to show that EU sanctions," which bar some Russian officials from transiting or visiting EU countries "don't work."