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Russia bars Moldovan officials in response to media ban

by Abbey Fenbert November 21, 2023 6:02 AM 2 min read
Moldovan President Maia Sandu casts her ballot in local elections in Chisinau on Nov. 5, 2023. Moldova blocked some Russian media outlets ahead of the elections. (Elena Covalenco / AFP via Getty Images)
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The Kremlin banned 11 Moldovan officials from entering Russia in retaliation for Moldova's recent restrictions on pro-Russian media outlets, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement Nov. 20.

The ministry summoned Moldovan Ambassador Lilian Darie to inform her of the decision.

According to the ministry's statement, the move represents "a decisive protest in connection with the continuing politically motivated persecution of Russian media in Moldova, including the blocking of access to their Internet sites."

The Moldovan government blocked access to 22 Russian media sites on Oct. 24, saying that the outlets were engaged in an "information war" against the country.

Moldova's President Maia Sandu has accused Russia of planning a coup in Chisinau and of interfering in local elections. According to Moldovan authorities, Russia has waged a multimillion-dollar destabilization campaign in the country, hoping to steer Chisinau away from the West.

The 11 banned officials are all members of Sandu's Action and Solidarity (PAS) party, according to the Moldovan outlet NewsMaker.

Moldovan foreign ministry spokesperson Igor Zaharov responded to Russia's action in a televised statement.

"We are committed to continuing our defense of our information space from any outside interference and uphold our firm position against disinformation, hybrid attacks, and attempts to destabilize the situation in Moldova," Zaharov told the Moldova-1 television channel.

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