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Likely Ashton Successor Mogherini Praises Moldova's 'West' Path

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who will be the next EU foreign affairs chief, has praised Moldova for choosing "the path of going toward the West."

She added that Chisinau had also maintained "good relations with the East."

Mogherini spoke on September 1 after meeting with the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Croatia, and other EU officials in the Moldovan capital.

Moldova's government tightened economic and political ties with the EU by signing an association agreement in June.

The move angered Russia, which placed import restrictions in July on many Moldovan products.

Also on September 1, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Mogherini and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, discussed "pressing international issues, including the crisis in Ukraine" in a telephone call.

Critics of Mogherini have accused her of being too close to Russia.

But earlier on September 1, Mogherini was blunt in her criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin's policies, accusing "the Kremlin" of "acting against the interests of its people."

"Putin has never respected the commitments he made in several situations, in Geneva, in Normandy, in Berlin," she also said, according to Reuters. "He wasted the chance to turn things around by influencing the separatists after the shooting down of the Malaysian airplane. The distance between commitments and concrete action has been enormous."

Based on reporting by AP, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS