Russia Throws Diplomatic Punches: Bars Moldovan Officials and Escalates Tensions over Media Crackdown
Russia bars Moldovan officials and expresses frustration over Moldova's decision to block Russian media outlets. Tensions escalate as Moldova accuses Russia of interference and President Sandu aims to join the EU.
Russia has taken further action against Moldova, barring entry to a number of Moldovan officials and expressing its frustration with the Moldovan government's decision to block Russian media outlets before local elections. Tensions have been escalating between the two countries, with Moldova accusing Russia of exerting pressure on its affairs and President Maia Sandu's efforts to join the European Union.
According to a statement from the Russian foreign ministry, Moldova's ambassador was summoned to be informed of the decision. The ministry expressed its protest against the "politically motivated persecution of Russian media in Moldova," including the blocking of their internet sites. While the details of the officials barred were not disclosed, the move is seen as an asymmetric measure in response to Moldova's actions. Moldova's foreign ministry spokesperson emphasized that the government will stand by its decision to protect its media from interference, regardless of Moscow's actions. They reaffirmed their commitment to defending their information space from outside interference and combating disinformation and hybrid attacks that seek to destabilize the situation in Moldova.
Reports indicate that the Russian list of barred officials includes 11 parliamentarians who are members of Sandu's pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity. Before the elections, Moldova suspended licenses and denied access to 30 media sites, citing disinformation as the reason for their actions. Sandu, who has openly criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine, accused Moscow of attempting to remove her from power through a coup. Russia denies the allegations and claims that Sandu is fostering an anti-Russian atmosphere in Moldova. The latest developments further strain the already tense relationship between Russia and Moldova, with each side leveling accusations and engaging in acerbic exchanges. It remains to be seen how these actions will impact the future relationship between the two countries and Moldova's aspirations to join the European Union.