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Another region of a European country requests “Russian protection”

Another region of a European country requests “Russian protection”

The governor of Moldova's pro-Russian Gagauzia region has reportedly become the second regional leader from the Eastern European country to seek “protection” from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Gagauzia Governor Eugenia Gotul accused her country's pro-EU leadership of “suppressing” pro-Kremlin residents in her region during a meeting with the head of the Russian Senate in Moscow on Friday, according to Reuters.

The development came after the Congress of Moldova's internationally unrecognized, pro-Russian breakaway state of Transnistria earlier this week asked Putin's government to “implement measures to defend Transnistria”, raising concerns that Russia could move to invade Moldova.

“We want… to continue to receive support from the Russian Federation,” Gotul reportedly told Parliament Speaker Valentina Matvienko during the meeting on Friday, before requesting the establishment of direct flights between Gagauzia and Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu pictured in Moscow on February 23. On Friday, Eugenia Gotul, the governor of the pro-Kremlin region of Moldova, is said to have asked leaders for “support” from Moscow.


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Matvienko reportedly responded by praising Gotul for his interest in “developing the economy,” while promoting “the expansion of relations between our regions and Gagauzia” and noting that “10 Russian constituent regions have signed agreements with Gagauzia.”

“There is an autonomous territorial unit, Gagauzia, that cares about its citizens, wants development, and wants to improve the well-being of its citizens,” Matvienko said, according to the Russian state media agency TASS.

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“If the leaders of Gagauzia are willing to cooperate in this way, we will provide all possible assistance,” he added [to] She added: “Strengthening and expanding our relations. No one can prevent us or you.” [from doing so]”.

Newsweek I reached out for comment to Putin's office and the Moldovan Embassy in Washington, D.C., via email on Friday evening.

Gotul was elected to lead Gagauzia on a pro-Russian platform last year in an election that was later investigated by Moldova's national government for fraud, including residents who allegedly voted for Gotul after receiving bribes.

The governor's visit to Moscow is likely to intensify fears that Moldova could become the next target of Putin's expansionist ambitions. The country shares its eastern border with Ukraine, which Russia invaded on February 24, 2022, under the pretext of helping pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Moldova has also been granted candidate status for EU membership in 2022, with plans to become a member of the bloc by 2030. The Russian government has strongly opposed its regional neighbors joining organizations such as the EU and NATO, an expansion that Putin referred to as a plus. The reason for the invasion of Ukraine.

In February 2023, Moldova's President Maia Sandu accused Putin of planning a coup to overthrow her country's government, a scenario that some Western analysts warned could be achieved with the help of the approximately 1,500 soldiers still stationed in Transnistria after the war that led to its transformation into the Republic of Moldova. An unrecognized state in the 1990s.

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A Russian Foreign Ministry representative told Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that Moscow would “carefully” examine Transnistria's request to protect its Russian “citizens” in the region.