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Moldova Unhappy With Russian Voting Booths In Separatist Transdniester

Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat (file photo)

Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat (file photo)

CHISINAU -- Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat says he regrets Russia's announcement that it will open voting booths in Moldova's separatist Transdniester region for the upcoming Russian elections, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Filat told RFE/RL in an interview in Prague on November 29 that his government had specifically asked Moscow not to organize polling areas in Transdniester.

"This is a regrettable situation but it will not slow down our efforts to improve...our bilateral ties [with Russia]," Filat said.

On November 28, the Russian Embassy in Moldova said Russian voters in Transdniester would be able to cast ballots on December 4 at more than 20 voting precincts.

The announcement comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a visit to Chisinau earlier this month that it was Moscow's duty to ensure that its citizens can vote in national elections "no matter where they are, provided the sovereignty of the respective country is respected."

Transdniester proclaimed its independence from Moldova after a short war in the early 1990s but is not recognized by Russia or any other country.

Russia has opened voting precincts in Transdniester before, triggering official Moldovan protests each time.

Roughly one-third of Trandniester's population of 550,000 consider themselves ethnic Russian and many of them have Russian citizenship.