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Moscow bans entry of Moldovan officials in response to blocking of Russian media outlets

Moscow has banned the entry of several Moldovan officials in response to Moldova's decision to block access to Russian media outlets. Moldova's Ambassador to Russia, Lilian Darii, was notified of the entry ban during a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry. The move comes after Moldova's Security and Intelligence Service ordered the blocking of leading Russian media outlets' access on October 30, citing politically motivated reasons.

Agencies and A News DIPLOMACY
Published November 21,2023

Moscow imposed a ban on the entry of a number of Moldovan officials into Russia in response to Chisinau's decision to block access to Russian media outlets in Moldova.

Moldova's Ambassador to Russia Lilian Darii was informed that entry into the Russian Federation was denied to a number of officials of the Republic of Moldova, said a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry late Monday.

The statement said that Darii was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry where Moscow strongly protested the "politically motivated persecution of Russian language media in Moldova." It also protested the blocking of access to their websites.

On Oct. 30, Moldova's Security and Intelligence Service issued an order blocking access to leading Russian media outlets.

The list included several Russian media outlets such as TASS, Interfax, Izvestia, Komsomolskaya Pravda, and Sputnik Radio, as well as some Moldovan websites.

Earlier in October, Moldova announced a similar decision blocking access to websites of Russian news outlets and television channels, including RT and Smotrim, which Moscow described as "the grossest violation of freedom of speech and rights."

Relations between Russia and Moldova, a former republic of the Soviet Union, have deteriorated since 2003 and completely degraded since pro-Western Maia Sandu was elected president in 2020.

Sandu's condemnation of Russia's "special military operation" in neighboring Ukraine has further escalated tensions between the two countries, with Sandu also publicly accusing Moscow of attempting to orchestrate her ouster and "destabilize" Moldova. Russia has denied the claims.