he glamorous foreign minister of a breakaway region of Moldova is calling on Vladimir Putin to make her country his next conquest in eastern Europe.
Few may have heard of Transdniestria, the unofficial and fictitious-sounding statelet whose head of international relations is 36-year-old Nina Shtanski.
However, senior Western figures are alarmed that following the annexation of Crimea it is step two in a Kremlin masterplan to redraw the frontiers of Europe.
This top diplomat in staunchly pro-Russian Transdniestria, who has a penchant for revealing black dresses, is gushing in her praise of Putin's takeover of the Black Sea peninsula.
She openly invites him to make the same move in her landlocked territory of 509,000 people, wedged between strife-torn Ukraine and Moldova.
'We are pleased to say that the outcome of the Crimean referendum almost fully coincides with the results of the Transdniestrian referendum of 17 September 2006, when over 97 per cent of voters chose independence and the prospect of voluntary unification with Russia,' she said in a statement.
'The obvious match of the will expressed by people in Crimea and Transdniestria demonstrates that the Russian World is uniting and the people's wish for unity cannot be stopped.'
Russian troops are assembling on Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia. An annexation of Transdniestria would be a significant expansion of Russian territory.