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EU must ensure Moldova isn't the next Crimea, Juncker says

Published on Mar 23, 2014 1:14 AM

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Jean-Claude Juncker, the former Luxembourg premier who wants to be next head of the European Commission, said Europe must rush through an association deal with Moldova to avoid it becoming Russian President Vladimir Putin's next target for annexation.

"After events in Ukraine, it is of great urgency that the Europeans sign the association agreement with Moldova very quickly, in the next few weeks," Juncker told the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag in an interview.

The president of Moldova, an ex-Soviet republic of 3.5 million people, warned Russia this week not to consider any move to take over Moldova's separatist Transdniestria region in the same way it has taken control of Crimea in Ukraine.

He was responding to comments by the speaker of the region's separatist parliament urging Moscow to incorporate the mainly Russian-speaking region, which split from Moldova in 1990, a year before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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