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Moldova expels 45 Russian diplomats, embassy staff over 'unfriendly actions'

by Martin Fornusek July 26, 2023 4:41 PM 2 min read
Pro-Ukrainian protests at the Russian embassy in Chisinau, Moldova, April 9, 2022. (Photo credit: Pablo Miranzo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Moldova asked 22 Russian diplomats and 23 members of the Russian embassy's technical staff to leave the country by Aug. 15, Deschide reported on July 26, citing Igor Zaharov, an advisor to Moldova's foreign minister.

"This decision comes as a result of numerous unfriendly actions towards the Republic of Moldova, which are not related to the diplomatic mandate, as well as attempts to destabilize the internal situation in our country," the Moldovan Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

While the embassy staff will not be declared as persona non grata, they will be asked to leave Moldova, Zaharov reportedly said.

Earlier on July 26, the Moldovan government declared that the Russian embassy staff will be reduced from 84 to 25, specifically to 10 diplomatic posts and 15 other positions, which amounts to almost 60 and thus more than the figure that Zaharov presented.

An investigation by the Russian independent outlet The Insider and the Moldovan Jurnal TV published on July 24 revealed that the Russian embassy in Chisinau has 28 "spy antennas" installed on its rooftops, likely serving to intercept signals and gather intelligence.

Shortly after the investigation, Moldova's Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov.

On July 25, Moldovan President Maia Sandu commented on the investigation, saying that the information is known to the security services and that details and an appropriate solution will be offered at the right time, NewsMaker reported.

In spite of the incident, Moldovan authorities did name a specific reason for the staff reduction.

Russia's Foreign Ministry denounced the move, promising that Chisinau's actions "will not go unanswered."

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