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Romanian flags used to undermine Moldovan sovereignty - Lavrov


MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday he hoped the European Union and Romania would take measures to prevent the use of Romanian flags to undermine Moldova's sovereignty.

"The slogans and flags, which were waved and proclaimed in Chisinau yesterday and the day before, greatly alarmed us. They clearly showed that the demonstrators were in actual fact rioters aimed at destroying Moldova's sovereignty," Lavrov said in an interview with RIA Novosti, the Russia Today TV channel and Voice of Russia radio.

Protests against the ruling Communist Party's victory in Sunday's elections turned violent on Tuesday, with around 10,000 rioters taking control of the presidential residence and nearby parliament building. Some 170 police officers and more than 100 civilians were injured in the clashes.

The country's President Vladimir Voronin has accused neighboring Romania of inciting the violence in the capital and on Wednesday the Moldovan Cabinet approved the introduction of a visa regime with Romania and also expelled the country's ambassador over the disorder.

The Russian foreign minister said that Moscow had pointed out the use of Romania flags to the European Union.

"We [Russia] were assured that they are treating the situation seriously and we hope that the EU and Romania, which publicly denounced the violence, will take action to ensure Romanian flags and slogans are not used as a cover to undermine Moldova's sovereignty," Lavrov said adding that there is still no official agreement on a state border between Moldova and Romania.

He also said that the recent disturbances in Chisinau would make a settlement to the Transdnestr issue more difficult.

"All that has happened is definitely aimed at weakening conditions for reaching an agreement," he said.

Transdnestr separated from Moldova and declared its independence in 1992 following a brief conflict after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Lavrov said the recent events in Moldova are different from "color revolutions," which took place in Ukraine in 2004 and Georgia 2003, two other former Soviet republics.

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