Putins neighbour expels hostile diplomats as expert warns Russia could invade

Zelensky accuses Russia of trying to destabilise Moldova

Russian diplomats are set to be expelled from Moldova for their “hostile” actions against the country. The news comes as an expert speaking to Daily Express US warned the country could be the next in Vladimir Putin’s sights.

Moldova ordered 45 Russian diplomats and embassy staff to leave the country after accusing them of attempting to “destabilise” the country.

“We agreed on the need to limit the number of accredited diplomats from Russia so that there are fewer people trying to destabilise the Republic of Moldova,” foreign minister Nicu Popescu said at a cabinet meeting.

He added: “For many years we have been the object of hostile Russian actions and policies. Many of them were made through the embassy.”

The move comes as experts warn that Putin’s aggression is not limited to Ukraine – the Russian President sees himself as a conqueror and has other neighbours in his sights.

READ MORE: Ukraine smashes through Russian defence and sends Putin’s forces fleeing

“Putin sees himself as a modern-day Peter the Great. He does not intend to resurrect the Soviet Union, but I do believe that he is trying to reconstitute a Russian Empire,” Professor of International Studies Glen Duerr at Cedarville University told Daily Express US.

He warned that if Western support in Ukraine waned, Putin wouldn’t stop after taking Kyiv.

Dr Duerr said: “Russia is not content to simply hold what it has seized. At this juncture, I believe that Russia is strategically waiting for Western support to decline – should this happen, Moscow will again try to march on Kyiv and conquer the remainder of Ukraine.

“Other countries like Moldova and Georgia could then be next.”

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Another expert Irina Tsukerman, a geopolitical analyst and CEO of the security strategy company Scarab Rising, echoed the concerns and said Russia’s ambitions went “far beyond Ukraine”.

Speaking to Daily Express US, she said: “Even if the West were to stop helping Ukraine, Russia would not drop its hegemonic and anti-Western posture and would continue [its] aggression.”

Russia hit back at Moldova’s decision with the Kremlin accusing the country of “Russophobia” and issuing a chilling warning to Chişinău.

Moscow’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that Moldova’s decision “would not go unanswered”.

Relations between Russia and Moldova – once a part of the Soviet Union – are at a low after President Maia Sandu strongly condemned Moscow’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine and claimed the Kremlin was plotting to overthrow her.

An unknown number of Russian troops are stationed in the country’s unrecognised breakaway region of Transnistria. It’s unlikely, however, that Moscow has the resources to launch an offensive there at the moment.

Russian forces are reportedly defending against massive attacks by Ukraine on the southern front in that country following months of deadlock there.

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