Moldova’s president Maia Sandu has dismissed a veiled threat by Russian foreign minister who claimed that Moldovas’s Russian-speaking population could be in danger.
She told him to stop stirring trouble in Moldova, a former Soviet republic with a sizeable Russian minority that shares a border with Ukraine.
An exasperated Sandu accused Sergey Lavrov of a “cheap provocation” intended to destabilize Moldova, Agerpres reported citing Naţional din Chişinău.
Most Russian speakers live in the separatist republic of Trans-Dniester where Russia has 1,500 peacekeepers stationed.
Mr Lavrov on Thursday warned Moldova that ‘any actions’ seen as endangering its peacekeepers would be considered as an attack on Russia itself.
But Ms Sandu retorted: “Russia’s been making provocative statements about Moldova since the beginning of the war in Ukraine,” she said. “Don’t let yourselves be manipulated..We need to be united.”
Ms Sandu told her audience that Moldova wanted to resolve the frozen conflict in Trans-Dniester peacefully. “Mr Lavrov knows this.”
“Russia needs to give answers about its aggression, not Moldova. We are a small and peaceful country, something we’ve demonstrated in 31 years of independence. “
”All these statements are a manipulation and they aim to destabilize the situation in Moldova.”
Mr Lavrov’s statement during a meeting with students prompted fresh concerns that Moldova could be drawn into the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Russia stationed peacekeepers there in 1992 at end of a war over fears that Moldova would reunite with Romania. Russian forces also guard a large ammunition dump in the region.
Trans-Dniester is not recognized internationally, even by Russia.