In a statement on Saturday, the Ukrainian government said that “the products were found in the cargo compartment of a minibus with license plates of the diplomatic corps.”
It has also been reported that the vehicle had been stopped by Moldovan officials before leaving the country.
Chisinau’s Foreign Ministry has acknowledged the incident, and said it was eager to “clarify the circumstances of the case.”
In November, the Council of Europe adopted a new plan for ties with the tiny Eastern European nation, with specific provisions for “fighting drug abuse and illicit trafficking in drugs.”
Interpol, the global law enforcement service, has previously warned that Moldova is “very attractive to organized crime groups wishing to smuggle illicit produce between Europe and Asia.”
The deal with Brussels came as Maia Sandu, a Harvard-educated former World Bank economist, was elected as Moldova’s president last month. She had repeatedly indicated during her campaign that she would seek closer ties with the EU than her predecessor, who was widely considered a close ally of Russia, risking a potential split between the former Soviet Republic and Moscow.
While President Vladimir Putin welcomed Sandu’s election, saying he hoped she would oversee “constructive development of relations between our countries,” Chisinau has since placed itself on a collision course with its former ally.
Last week, the new Moldovan president called for Russian peacekeepers to withdraw from the breakaway territory of Transnistria, in the country’s east.
The Kremlin, however, ruled out the request, saying it could destabilize the region, which has been a de facto independent state since a brief civil war in 1992.