Ukraine: “concerned”, Moldova summons the Russian ambassador

Moldova on Friday summoned the Russian ambassador to protest statements by a Russian general that Moscow wanted to take control of southern Ukraine in order to gain access to a breakaway Moldovan region.

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Moldova expressed to the ambassador its “deep concern” over these statements by Russian General Rustam Minnekayev, Moldova’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Moldova “considers these statements to be unfounded and contrary to Russia’s support for our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry continued.

“Moldova is a neutral country” and calls on Moscow “to respect this principle,” he added.

Moldova’s concern relates to statements made by General Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of the armed forces of the Central Russian Military District, who said on Friday that Moscow wants to “take full control of Donbass (eastern) and southern Ukraine.”

According to Mr. Minnekayev, control of southern Ukraine must make it possible, in particular, to help the pro-Russian separatists of Transnistria, who have ruled this part of Moldova bordering western Ukraine since 1992. A Russian military garrison is already there.

“Control over southern Ukraine is also a corridor to Transnistria, where there are also cases of oppression of the Russian-speaking population,” General Minnekaev assured.

These statements are enough to worry the Moldovan authorities, since Moscow justified its invasion of Ukraine by specifically accusing the government of Kyiv of persecuting the Russian-speaking population.

Complex ties between Russia and Moldova, a former Soviet republic of 2.6 million people sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, became strained after the election of a pro-European president, Maia Sandu, in 2020.

Transnistria, which broke away from Moldova after a short civil war as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, has around 500,000 inhabitants and is supported economically and militarily by Moscow.

It is not recognized as a state by the international community.

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