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Moldovan authorities try to present Gagauz as separatists — official

Earlier, Yevgenia Gutsul noted that the Gagauz autonomy would withdraw from Moldova if Chisinau decides it wants to unify with Romania

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. The Moldovan authorities are essentially inciting interethnic discord by purposefully pitting Moldovans against the Gagauz by presenting the latter as separatists, head of the Gagauz autonomy Yevgenia Gutsul told TASS.

"We are being pushed by the PAS (ruling Party of Action and Solidarity - TASS) to fight with each other - Moldovans and Gagauz, who are actually one people. This is the beginning of a deliberate division and incitement of interethnic discord. Paid PAS activists hold signs saying 'Gagauzians are separatists.' They are intentionally pitting Moldovans against Gagauz," she said.

Earlier, Gutsul noted that the Gagauz autonomy would withdraw from Moldova if Chisinau decides it wants to unify with Romania. However, she repeatedly emphasized that Gagauzia wants to be part of independent Moldova, and the autonomy's authorities will defend their country's sovereignty, recalling the results of the 2014 referendum.

After winning the election of the head of the autonomy, Gutsul announced her intention to strengthen the region's friendly relations with Russia and criticized Chisinau's policy of confrontation with Moscow. The Moldovan authorities tried to declare the election illegal, but the Gagauz parliament stood by Gutsul. Several large-scale rallies in support of the new leader were held in the region. After that, Moldovan President Maia Sandu refused to sign a decree approving Gutsul as a member of the government, although this is required by the country's legislation.

The founding of the Gagauz Republic on August 19, 1990, resulted in a conflict which Chisinau tried to settle by force. However, Soviet troops helped to avoid bloodshed. Then representatives of Chisinau and Comrat sat down at the negotiating table, and in December 1994 the Moldovan parliament adopted the law on the special status of the Gagauz autonomy. Tensions between Comrat and Chisinau boiled over again after Gutsul won election as part of the opposition, in the election of the head of the autonomy.