Russia Implements Travel Ban on Moldovan Nationals and Summons Ambassador

Russia Implements Travel Ban on Moldovan Nationals and Summons Ambassador

Russia has denied entry to several officials from Moldova and criticized the Moldovan government for blocking Russian media outlets ahead of local elections. This latest development adds to the strained relations between the two countries, with Moldova accusing Russia of interfering in its affairs and President Maia Sandu’s pro-European stance.

The Russian foreign ministry summoned Moldovan Ambassador Lilian Darie to inform him of the decision. In a statement, the ministry expressed its dissatisfaction with the ongoing persecution of Russian media in Moldova, including the blocking of their internet sites. The ambassador was informed that Moscow would take an “asymmetrical measure” by barring entry to certain Moldovan officials, although no further details were provided.

In response, Moldova’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Igor Zaharov, reiterated the government’s commitment to protecting its media from interference, regardless of Russia’s actions. Zaharov emphasized their firm stance against disinformation, hybrid attacks, and any attempts to destabilize the country.

According to Moldovan news outlet, the Russian list of banned officials includes 11 parliamentarians affiliated with Sandu’s pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity. Prior to the election, Moldova had suspended licenses and restricted access to 30 media sites, citing the spread of disinformation. Some of these sites were based in Russia, while others were from Moldova.

Sandu has been vocal in denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has accused Moscow of attempting to overthrow her in a coup. Russia, however, denies these allegations and claims that Sandu is fostering an anti-Russian atmosphere in Moldova.

The tense relationship between Russia and Moldova continues to escalate, with both sides engaging in acrimonious exchanges. Despite the mounting pressure and restrictions, Moldova remains determined to protect its information space and defend against outside interference.