19 Mar 2024 16:59

Moldova expels Russian embassy employee - Foreign Ministry

CHISINAU. March 19 (Interfax) - Moldova has declared an employee of the Russian embassy in Chisinau persona non grata as a sign of protest against the opening of polling stations for Russian presidential elections in Transdniestria, the Moldovan Foreign Ministry said.

A relevant notification was handed to Russian Ambassador to Moldova Oleg Vasnetsov on Tuesday, the ministry said.

"Ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov of the Russian Federation was summoned to the Foreign Ministry. The Russian ambassador was notified officially that one of the embassy employees was declared persona non grata in Moldova and had to leave the country," it said.

Chisinau also told the Russian ambassador that it did not wish to see a Russian delegation at the 34th session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference in Chisinau in May 2024, the ministry said.

Ambassador Vasnetsov confirmed to journalists that the Moldovan Foreign Ministry, which is acting as "the organizer and host of this event," did not want to see a Russian delegation in attendance.

"They proposed to us that a Russian delegation attend it online, if it wished to do so," he said.

"This yet again demonstrates the Chisinau authorities' unfriendly attitude towards Russia," Vasnetsov said.

After visiting the Moldovan Foreign Ministry, Vasnetsov said that Moscow will respond to the Moldovan authorities' steps. 

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Moldovan President Maia Sandu criticized Russia's decision to open its polling stations in Transdniestria.

"The Russian Federation's decision to open polling stations in the Transdniestrian region contrary to the Moldovan government's position shows Russia's lack of respect for the Republic of Moldova's statehood, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, as well as for our citizens. Response measures on the government's part will follow," Sandu said in reply to a journalist's question on the matter.

Russia opened six polling stations in the Transdniestrian region on Sunday for voting in the Russian presidential election, including three in Tiraspol and one each in Bender, Grigoriopol, and Ribnita, where over 46,000 Russian citizens cast their ballots.

That said, one polling station was opened in Moldova at the Russian embassy in Chisinau, and just over 2,000 Russian citizens voted there.