Moldova expresses "deep concern" over Russian general's Transnistria comments
Moldova's Foreign Ministry summoned Russia's ambassador to the country on Friday to express "deep concern" over recent comments made by a Russian general that suggested the Kremlin is targeting its territory.
Why it matters: Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekayev said Friday that Russia seeks full control of southern Ukraine to give it another "another way out to Transnistria," referring to the unrecognized breakaway state internationally recognized as part of Moldova.
- Minnekayev also claimed that the Moldovan government was oppressing the Russian-speaking population in Transnistria, echoing a claim that the Kremlin has used in its attempt to justify its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
- Moldova, like Ukraine, is not a member of the European Union or the NATO.
What they're saying: Moldova's Foreign Ministry said it summoned Oleg Vasnetov, the Russian ambassador to Moldova, in response to Minnekayev's comments.
- "These statements are unfounded and contradict the position of the Russian Federation supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, within its internationally recognized borders," it said.
- "During the meeting, it was reiterated that the Republic of Moldova, in line with its Constitution, is a neutral state and this principle must be respected by all international actors, including the Russian Federation."
The big picture: Russia does not officially recognize the independence of Transnistria, but it does maintain a special relationship with the region, including stationing troops there.
- Russia recognized two breakaway "republics" in eastern Ukraine as independent before invading the country to conduct "peacekeeping operations" in the separatist regions.
- Russia's invasion of Ukraine has galvanized traditionally neutral countries, including Finland and Sweden, into expressing interest in joining NATO or the EU or both.
Go deeper: Moldova, Ukraine's "most fragile" neighbor, welcomes Western wake-up call