25 Apr 2023 12:03

Russian Foreign Ministry announces expulsion of Moldovan diplomat from Moscow

MOSCOW. April 25 (Interfax) - Russia will expel an employee of Moldova's embassy in Moscow and ban entry for a number of Moldovan officials as a retaliatory measure, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Moldovan Ambassador in Moscow Lilian Darii on Tuesday and "lodged a resolute protest with him over Chisinau's continuing unfriendly steps toward Russia," the ministry said.

"Darii received the ministry's note saying that in retaliation for the Moldovan authorities' completely unsubstantiated decision on April 19 to declare an employee of the Russian embassy to Moldova persona non grata, the Russian side is declaring an employee of the Moldovan embassy to Russia persona non grata," the ministry said in a statement published on its website.

In addition, Russia has decided to ban entry for a number of Moldovan officials "in response to their regular anti-Russian statements, as well as in response to Chisinau joining the European Union's sanctions lists, which include citizens of the Russian Federation."

Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said after being asked by reporters to comment on Moscow's decision to expel a Moldovan diplomat that "Russia is continuing these (hostile) steps, which are negatively affecting citizens."

"Last week, as a result of such activities, one representative of the Russian embassy was declared persona non grata in Moldova," the minister said, adding that Moscow has retaliated.

Moldova declared a diplomat from the Russian embassy in Chisinau persona non grata last week. Moldovan Foreign Minister Popescu said that Russian diplomats had committed violations when trying to secure permission for Rustam Minnikhanov, head of Russia's republic of Tatarstan, to enter Moldova.

The Moldovan authorities earlier designated Minnikhanov as undesirable and banned him from entering the country. Minnikhanov was heading to the Gagauzia autonomous region to support Viktor Petrov, a candidate running in the elections for Gagauzia's head set for April 30.