MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia and Moldova have agreed to lift trade restrictions and are ready for mutually beneficial ties, senior Kremlin official Dmitry Kozak said on Wednesday, Interfax news agency reported.
Russia in 2013 banned imports of Moldovan wines and spirits, one of the ex-Soviet republic’s main export earners, in a move that was seen as retaliation for the small country’s drive to expand ties with the European Union.
In late 2020, the Kremlin rebuffed calls by Moldova’s then-incoming president, Maia Sandu, for Russian troops to withdraw from the breakaway region of Transdniestria, saying it would be seriously destabilising.
Kozak, deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration, met Sandu in Moldova’s capital Chisinau on Wednesday, TASS news agency cited Sandu’s spokeswoman as saying.
“We touched upon a wide range of issues, such as the settling the Transdniestria problem, the issue of ammunition disposal, the cooperation on duty-free supplies of Moldova’s goods to the Russian market,” Kozak said, according to Interfax.
“We have agreed to cooperate in mutual trade, to lift the restrictions that took place,” he said.
Sandu, after meeting Kozak, said Moldova was ready to restart the settling of the Transdniestria conflict with peaceful means, RIA news agency reported.
Kozak also said a dialogue on all issues that concern Moscow and Chisinau would begin soon. He said Russia was ready to help Moldova but on “mutually beneficial grounds and without compromising Russia’s interests,” Interfax reported.
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Richard Chang)