Dozens of Russian diplomats leave Moldova after expulsion order

Several diplomats from the Russian embassy in the Republic of Moldova left the country on a charter plane on Monday morning, after being expelled in the wake of what Moldovan authorities called "unfriendly actions".

The flight was scheduled to take off at 9:00 am (local time) with approximately 100 people on board. Among them were diplomats and technical staff from the Russian embassy, as well as their family members.

They were taken to the airport in two buses, while others seem to have left in their cars and other chartered means.

A demonstration in support of the expelled diplomats took place in front of the Russian embassy.

Moldova announced in late July that it was expelling 45 Russian diplomats and other embassy staff after reports suggested that new surveillance equipment was installed on the Russian embassy roof and a neighbouring building used by Russia.

Moldova's Foreign Ministry had previously cited "ongoing tensions and unfriendly actions" from Russia for the decision. The Russian ambassador in Chisinau, Oleg Vasnetsov, declared after being summoned that the decision was "predictable" and that no evidence was presented to support the accusations.​

The decision has angered Moscow and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would not remain unanswered.