21 Aug 2019 17:45

Moldovan defense minister says expects Russian counterpart's visit

CHISINAU. Aug 21 (Interfax) - Moldovan Defense Minister Pavel Voicu said he still expects Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to visit Chisinau.

"I invited [Russian] Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to visit Moldova on August 24. We expect that this visit will take place and nobody from the government will obstruct this," Voicu told journalists following a government meeting on Wednesday.

Interfax had reported earlier that Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu said at the government meeting earlier in the day that Shoigu may visit Moldova only as a private individual, as the visit had not been cleared with her and the government.

Sandu also ordered that Moldovan Ambassador to Russia Andrei Neguta be recalled to Chisinau for consultations to clarify details of this visit.

Shoigu is expected to take part in ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of Moldova's liberation from the Nazis. At the same time, the Russian and Moldovan Defense Ministries intended to sign some inter-ministerial agreements as well.

Sandu said, however, that no documents could be signed during a private visit.

Moldovan President Igor Dodon said earlier that Shoigu would take part in the celebrations in Chisinau on August 24. The Party of Socialists, which Dodon informally leads, will arrange mass events and a concert on this occasion.