Zakharova: The Number of Embassy Staff in Moldova Is as High as It Needs to Be

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The current number of the Russian Embassy staff in Moldova is absolutely justified as Moscow is interested in developing ties with the Moldovan people, Russian Foreign Ministry Speaker Maria Zakharova said. According to the Russian official, the authors of the initiative to reduce staff of the Russian Embassy in Chisinau should understand that this would objectively reduce the possibility of providing consular and other assistance, including to Moldovan citizens. “Russia, like any other state, sets the number of its diplomatic representations in a country based on the level of bilateral cooperation and the volume of tasks it has there. The peoples of Russia and Moldova are bound by a rich common history and culture, active cooperation in the economic and humanitarian spheres and close personal contacts. The Russian side is interested in expanding and strengthening these ties based on the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs. On this basis, the current size of the Russian Embassy in Chisinau is absolutely justified”, Zakharova said. In this context, the Russian Foreign Ministry official accused the Moldovan authorities of having “double standards” and called on them to stop acting in favour of the “collective West”. “When they talk about ‘parity’ in the number of staff in the diplomatic missions, they are referring only to the Russian Embassy in Moldova. There is no talk of reducing the number of diplomatic representations of Western countries – Romania, the United Kingdom or the United States of America. We urge you to stop taking actions to please the ‘collective West’ that cause nothing but incomprehension and protest among your own people”, Zakharova concluded. On 21 June, in a broadcast on Exclusiv TV, PAS MP Andrian Cheptonar said that the Moldovan authorities would decide to reduce the staff of the Russian Embassy on the basis of the parity principle and give them a month to decide who would leave the Chisinau-based diplomatic mission. “We are talking about 40 diplomats and staff, there are about 40 other technical staff who install spy antennas on the roof of the Russian embassy. All of them have wives or husbands. All in all, as far as I know, the Russian Embassy building houses about 150 people”, Cheptonar said.