Moldova's government has recalled its envoy to Moscow, without offering any explanation.
Prime Minister Pavel Filip's government on March 1 said it was recalling Ambassador Dumitru Braghis from Moscow. No further details were given.
Earlier this week, pro-Moscow leftist President Igor Dodon had rejected three government-proposed Moldovan envoys to Britain, Austria, and Belarus, apparently angering pro-European centrist Filip.
Russia on March 2 voiced surprise at Chisinau's decision, saying it had not been officially notified of the move.
"So far we have not received anything official from them [the Moldovan authorities], Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on March 2.
"It was quite an unexpected announcement to us," Karasin said. "Appointing and recalling an ambassador is a state's sovereign right. But, naturally, we expect to receive some clarification in an unofficial way," he said.
Russia does not know at the moment who will replace Braghis, who was a respected diplomat, Karasin concluded.
With reporting by TASS