Moldova has ordered 45 Russian diplomats and embassy staff to leave the country “over numerous unfriendly actions,” officials said Wednesday, as tensions between the two countries are running high.
Moldova’s pro-EU government has firmly condemned Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine and alleged a Russian plot to overthrow the current government.
An investigation by Moldovan media outlets Jurnal TV and The Insider published this week alleged that there are 28 antennas on Russia’s embassy in Chisinau and an adjacent building that could be used for spying.
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“Forty-five diplomats and technical staff will have to leave before August 15,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Zaharov told AFP.
Following the decision, “there will be fewer individuals who are trying to destabilize the situation in our country,” Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.
Russia’s diplomatic corps will consist of 10 diplomatic positions and 15 administrative, technical and service positions “based on the principle of parity,” the foreign ministry said.
“This decision comes as a result of numerous unfriendly actions toward the Republic of Moldova... as well as attempts to destabilize the internal situation in our country,” it said, adding that Russia’s ambassador to Chisinau was summoned on Wednesday.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Moldova so far had expelled two Russian diplomats, according to Zaharov.
The country of 2.6 million people lies between Ukraine and EU member Romania.