Russia has banned entry to several Moldovan officials following Moldova’s “unfriendly” decision to expel 22 Russian diplomats, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday, marking a further worsening of already strained bilateral ties.
Moldova, a former Soviet republic, has been buffeted by Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine. Moldova’s pro-European president, Maia Sandu, has denounced Russia’s invasion and accused Moscow of trying to destabilize her own country.
Twenty-two Russian diplomats flew out of the Moldovan capital Chisinau on August 14, leaving behind a skeleton staff.
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“... this unfriendly step leads to the further destruction of Russian-Moldovan relations, which are already in a deep crisis due to the actions of the Moldovan side,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement after summoning Chisinau’s ambassador to Moscow to express its disapproval.
The envoy was informed that “as an asymmetric response, entry into the Russian Federation was closed to a number of officials of the Republic of Moldova,” the ministry said.
It did not identify the Moldovan officials affected by the ban or say how many they were.
Moldova shares a border with both Ukraine and NATO member Romania.