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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moldova Criticizes Romania

CHISINAU, Moldova -- Moldova on Wednesday accused neighboring Romania of undermining its security by offering its residents citizenship -- and EU passports -- en masse.

The former Soviet republic, most of which once belonged to Romania, has quarreled with Russia by accusing it of abetting separatists in its the self-proclaimed Transdnestr republic.

In recent years, Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, sought closer ties with the West and pressed for membership in the European Union.

But Moldova has suggested in recent weeks that Romania's willingness to grant citizenship to many of its 4 million residents poses a threat to its identity and national interest.

"The Republic of Moldova will not allow its citizens' future to become the target of two-faced, dangerous, behind-the-scenes games which undermine national security and the foundations of statehood for which its citizens made such sacrifices," the Moldovan government said in a statement released Wednesday.

It said Romania's failure to sign a treaty setting down borders with Moldova "can only be interpreted as confirmation of the real intentions of the neighboring state's leaders."

Since Romania joined the European Union in January, it has obliged Moldovans to obtain visas to enter the country.

But it also promised to ease requirements for obtaining citizenship for those who lived under Romanian rule between 1918 and 1940. Romanian President Traian Basescu last month said consular services were dealing with 800,000 applications.