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MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Five Moldovan diplomats in Moscow have been declared personae non grata and ordered to leave Russia in a span of 72 hours in response to expulsion of five Russian diplomats from Chisinau, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
"Counselor Assistant of the embassy of the Republic of Moldova to the Russian Federation <…> has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and handed over a note saying that in response to expulsion of five Russian diplomats from Chisinau on May 29, five employees of Moldova’s diplomatic mission in Moscow are declared personae non grata and ordered to leave the territory of the Russian Federation in a span of three days," the ministry said.
"Russia was hopeful that Chisinau will realize how counterproductive its unfriendly action against Russia is and how destructive Moldova’s step is that runs counter to principles of partnership and mutual trust," the Russian foreign ministry said.
Earlier in the day, Maria Zakharova, the ministry’s spokeswoman, said that Moldova should take a joint decision concerning Russian diplomats.
"Moldova should decide itself what it wants to do," Zakharova said, noting that fierce political debates are underway in the republic on the latest developments.
"Chisinau needs to define its position regardless of where and what steps of the kind are taken. As usual, adequate, tit-for-tat and symmetric measures are taken in response," she said.
Five diplomats from the Russian Embassy to Moldova were declared personae-non-grata on Monday, Moldova's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration told reporters. In his turn, Moldovan President Igor Dodon condemned the government’s move, stressing that it is directed against his steps on restoring relations with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will inform his Moldavan counterpart Igor Dodon about the consequences of expelling Russian diplomats from Chisinau during their meeting on the sidelines of the SPIEF, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov said.
"The president will explain the possible consequences of such ill-conceived steps," the Russian presidential aide told reporters adding that a brief meeting between the two presidents was scheduled for June 2.