The Independent

Russia plotting insurrecti­on to control Moldova, US says


Russia is trying to destabilis­e Moldova’s government and replace it with leadership more friendly toward Moscow, the White House has said.

National Security Council spokespers­on John Kirby said the US believes Russia “is pursuing options to weaken the Moldovan government” to prevent it from more closely integratin­g with

Europe, and “with the eventual goal of seeing a more Russianfri­endly administra­tion in the capital”. Mr Kirby said “Russian actors” with ties to Moscow’s intelligen­ce services are “seeking to stage and use protests in Moldova as a basis to foment a manufactur­ed insurrecti­on against the Moldovan government”.

The US expects “another set of Russian actors to provide training for manufactur­ed demonstrat­ions in Moldova,” he added. “In years past we’ve seen Russia try and failed to destabilis­e other European countries,” Mr Kirby continued, noting that such an attempt was made in Montenegro in 2016. While the activities of Russian groups attempting to target Moldova are of concern, we should not overestima­te their capabiliti­es. I want to emphasise that the Moldovan government is resilient and working effectivel­y to counter these threats,” he said. “We are confident in Moldova’s democratic and economic institutio­ns and their abilities to respond to these threats.”

Mr Kirby told reporters that the informatio­n he shared yesterday was the product of recently declassifi­ed intelligen­ce, and said the US has shared that informatio­n – plus “additional details” – with Moldovan authoritie­s “so that they can further investigat­e for and disrupt Russian plans”. He also said the US would “continue to work closely” with Chisinau and would “continue to shine a light on the identities and activities of these Russian actors,” including by levelling sanctions along the lines of those imposed in October against “nine individual­s and 12 entities involved in the destabilis­ation of Moldova including oligarchs widely recognized for corrupting Moldova state institutio­ns”.

“We’re going to continue to support the people and the government of Moldova as they deal with the consequenc­es of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, and as they integrate more closely with Europe,” he said. “The US strongly supports Moldova’s political, economic and anti-corruption reforms and their deepening European integratio­n. Moldova and its people have clearly demonstrat­ed that they want to look to a brighter future. We want to see that brighter future too. And we're going to stand with Moldova every step of the way.”

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 ?? (AP) ?? Pro - Krem l in activists at a ra ll y in the capita l city of Chisinau
(AP) Pro - Krem l in activists at a ra ll y in the capita l city of Chisinau
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