Popşoi: Russia Is the Main Proponent of Moldova’s Neutrality

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Foreign Minister Mihai Popşoi said that the presence of Russian troops on the republic’s territory violates Moldova’s neutrality. “We have an absurd situation when Russia is Moldova’s neutrality main proponent, being the only country that violates it. This takes place despite Chisinau’s obvious stance throughout this period. We seek the withdrawal of Russian troops in line with Russia’s international commitments,” Popşoi emphasized. Asked what he would say to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a bilateral meeting, he said, the issue of Russian troops withdrawal would be among the main ones. “Firstly, I don’t have my suitcases packed to go to Moscow already. This is impossible while the Russian Federation is waging an aggressive war against our neighbor and friend Ukraine. (...). I would say that it would be good if the Russian Federation fulfils the commitments undertaken at the OSCE Istanbul Summit in 1999 to withdraw troops and ammunition from Moldova’s constitutional territory,” the minister said. He also said he would condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine. “I would also say that a responsible state that respects international law cannot attack its neighbor in a despicable and unjust way, as Russia is doing in Ukraine”, the new foreign minister said. Asked whether relations between the Russian Federation and Moldova could still be restored, the minister said that “it is impossible in the near future”. “Given today’s experience and horrors in Ukraine, it is difficult to see a significant improvement in relations in the near future because of the barbaric, extremely cynical war. In this context, of course, we cannot talk about normalization of relations. (...) The horrors in Ukraine cannot be overcome. It will take a long time for the Russian Federation and Russian society to digest what happened,” Popşoi concluded. In his opinion, “Russia also can no longer be considered an impartial mediator in the 5+2 negotiation format”. “This format is already dead, given the circumstances in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s behavior in the Transnistrian regulation process”, the Moldovan minister said.