Russia's ambassador to the United Nations has objected to the Moldovan government's call for the UN to discuss withdrawing Russian troops from its breakaway Transdniester region at next month's General Assembly session.
Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the "sudden move" was "not very friendly."
"We were never approached on that and we weren't warned in advance," he told TASS at UN headquarters in New York on August 23.
"And of course it will not [be conducive] to the peace process, which was established a long time ago," Nebenzya said.
Moldovan parliament speaker Andrian Candu earlier on August 23 confirmed in a Facebook post that a letter with the request was handed to the UN by Moldova's ambassador to the United Nations, Victor Moraru, after reports about its existence appeared in the Russian media.
"For 25 years, under the guise of a peacekeeping mission, the Russian Federation has been intimidating us by deploying troops, ammunition, and armaments on our country's territory," Candu wrote in his post.
"Moldovan authorities have requested that the United Nations include discussing the withdrawal of foreign troops from our country on the agenda of the UN General Assembly scheduled for the beginning of next month," Candu wrote.
Russia maintains an estimated 2,000-strong force in Transdniester -- 1,500 troops who Moscow says guard huge Soviet-era arms depots, and up to 500 peacekeepers to ensure an uneasy 25-year-old cease-fire that ended a bloody conflict between Moldova and its eastern separatist region.
At a 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul, Moscow had pledged to withdraw its troops from Transdniester by 2002, but never followed suit.
Moldovan President Igor Dodon, who has courted Russia and is at odds with his country's pro-European Union government, on August 23 sharply criticized the move to bring the matter before the UN, calling it "dust thrown in the eyes of the government's Western curators and puppeteers."
Dodon, who also took to Facebook to voice his criticism, said the Russian peacekeeping mission was successful and must be continued and urged the government to press for the resumption of long-stalled peace negotiations with Transdniester.
Mainly Russian-speaking Transdniester declared independence from Moldova in 1990 over fears that Chisinau would seek reunification with neighboring Romania. Most of Moldova was part of Romania in the interwar period.
Hundreds were killed in an ensuing conflict in 1992, which ended in a Moscow-brokered cease-fire after the conflict was quelled by the Russian troops already stationed in Transdniester since Soviet times.
The 72nd session of the UN General Assembly will open on September 12.
With reporting by TASS