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Moldova: lawmakers demand Russia withdraws its troops

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CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldovan lawmakers have demanded that Russia withdraws its troops from the separatist region of Trans-Dniester, in a move that could heighten tensions between the pro-Western government and the president who favors closer relations with Moscow.

A total of 61 of lawmakers in the 101-seat legislature Friday approved a symbolic statement calling for the removal of about 1,500 Russian troops, weapons, and other military equipment from the pro-Russian Trans-Dniester region.

The statement said Russian troops stationed there since a 1992 war where 1,500 were killed "violate the ... independence, sovereignty (and) territorial integrity" of Moldova.

President Igor Dodon criticized the vote, saying it was "intended to worsen relations with Russia." Moldova's government seeks closer ties with the European Union and the U.S.

Trans-Dniester broke away from Moldova in 1990.

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