CHISINAU (Reuters) – Tiny eastern European Moldova summoned the Russian ambassador on Wednesday to declare an embassy staff person non grata, prompting a complaint from Moscow.
Government press secretary Daniel Voda told reporters that the decision was linked to the actions of embassy staff towards Moldovan border guards who denied entry to a regional Russian politician at Chisinau airport this week.
Moldova, which applied to join the European Union last year alongside neighboring Ukraine, has repeatedly accused Russia of trying to destabilize the country, which Moscow denies.
Moldova asked Russian politicians not to interfere in its internal affairs on Monday after blocking Rustam Minnikhanov, the governor of Russia’s Tatarstan region. Police said it was aimed at boosting support for a pro-Russian candidate to run in regional elections.
Russian Ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov said he had not received answers about why the embassy employee was expelled and why Minnikhanov was banned.
“We consider these actions as unfriendly steps towards our country,” he told reporters.
(Covering by Alexander Tanas; Writing by Max Honder; Editing by Timothy Heritage)
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