On Aug. 14, 45 diplomats and employees working at the Russian embassy in the Moldovan capital of Chișinău left the country.

The Moldovan government had ordered the diplomats to leave in July “over numerous unfriendly actions” that had the effect of stirring civil unrest in the country, particularly with the presence of Russian-backed separatists in the Transnistria region.

“We agreed on the need to limit the number of accredited diplomats from Russia so that there are fewer people trying to destabilize the Republic of Moldova,” Foreign Minister Nicolae Popescu said at a government meeting.

All employees of the Russian embassy leaving the country were taken to the airport by two buses and several cars. Journalists were not allowed at the airport.

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The Russian Federation had until Aug. 15 to reduce the staff of its embassy from more than 80 to 25.

“For many years we have been the object of hostile actions and policies of Russia,” Popescu said. “Many of them were carried out through the embassy.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to the event during a briefing by saying that Moldova’s decision “will not go unanswered,” calling it “another step in destroying bilateral relations” between the countries.

In July 2023, the Moldovan authorities had announced the expulsion of 18 diplomats and 27 representatives of the technical staff of the Russian embassy.

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This decision was made against the backdrop of a journalistic investigation by Jurnal TV and The Insider, claiming that dozens of antennas and satellite dishes had been installed on the roof of the Russian embassy in Moldova, which the Russian special services used for espionage.

Popescu added: “A significant part of such actions was carried out through the embassy... It is important that diplomatic services focus on developing good relations... We have reached a common agreement on the need to limit the number of accredited diplomats from Russia.”

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According to the diplomatic note of the Foreign Ministry, handed over to the Russian side in July, the decision of the Moldovan authorities must be implemented by Aug. 15.

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