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Moldova to expel Russian embassy staff over 'unfriendly actions'

The government of Moldova said it will expel 45 Russian embassy staff for "unfriendly actions" against the state. Earlier this year Moldovan President Maia Sandu accused Russia of trying to destabilize her government. File Photo by Moldovan President Office
The government of Moldova said it will expel 45 Russian embassy staff for "unfriendly actions" against the state. Earlier this year Moldovan President Maia Sandu accused Russia of trying to destabilize her government. File Photo by Moldovan President Office | License Photo

July 26 (UPI) -- Moldova said on Wednesday it will expel 45 Russian embassy staff accused of being engaged in "unfriendly actions" against the state.

The Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would reduce staff at the Russian embassy in Moldova to equal the total at the Moldovan embassy in Russia with 10 diplomats and 15 administrative, technical and service employees.

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"This decision comes as a result of numerous unfriendly actions towards the Republic of Moldova unrelated to diplomatic duties, as well as attempts to destabilize the internal situation in our country," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Wednesday.

A recent investigation by The Insider and Moldova's Jurnal TV found that the Russian embassy was installing communications gear, including satellite dishes, on its embassy and a neighboring building.

Russian Ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov, who was summoned prior to the decision told reporters accused Moldova of using the spy report as a pretext to carry out a decision to cut down staff that had been made in advance.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also described the move as a "step toward the destruction of bilateral relations" between the two nations that would "not go unanswered."

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Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian troops have been present in the predominantly Russian-speaking Moldovan region of Transnistria.

Earlier this year, Moldovan President Maia Sandu has accused Russia of trying to overthrow her government.

In June, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned seven Russian individuals for trying to destabilize the Moldovan government and to "subvert democracy."

"Documents received from our Ukrainian partners show documentations of the location and logistical aspects of organizing these subversions," Sandu said in February.

Earlier this month, a prominent politician within the Transnistria region, Oleg Khorzhan, was killed in his office.

Though he was a part of the Russian puppet government in Transnistria, Khorzhan had run afoul of the local authorities in recent years and was imprisoned between 2018 and 2022 for organizing protests and insulting local authorities.

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