The Macomb Daily

Moldovan leader outlines Russian ‘plan’ to topple government

- By Stephen Mcgrath and Cristian Jardan

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA >> Moldova’s president outlined Monday what she described as a plot by Moscow to overthrow her country’s government using external saboteurs, put the nation “at the disposal of Russia” and derail its aspiration­s to one day join the European Union.

President Maia Sandu’s briefing comes a week after neighborin­g Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country had intercepte­d plans by Russian secret services to destroy Moldova, claims that were later confirmed by Moldovan intelligen­ce officials.

“The plan for the next period involves actions with the involvemen­t of diversioni­sts with military training, camouflage­d in civilian clothes, who will undertake violent actions, attack some state buildings, and even take hostages,” Sandu told reporters at a briefing.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, Moldova, a former Soviet republic of about 2.6 million people, has sought to forge closer ties with its Western partners. Last June, it was granted EU candidate status, the same day as Ukraine.

Sandu said the alleged Russian plot’s purpose is “to overthrow the constituti­onal order, to change the legitimate power from (Moldova’s capital) Chisinau to an illegitima­te one,” which she said “which would put our country at the disposal of Russia, in order to stop the European integratio­n process.”

She defiantly vowed: “The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to our country will not succeed.”

There was no immediate reaction from Russian officials to Sandu’s claims.

Sandu said that between October and December Moldovan police and its Intelligen­ce and Security Service, the SIS, have intervened in “several cases of organized criminal elements and stopped attempts at violence.”

Over the past year, nonNATO member Moldova has faced a string of problems. These include a severe energy crisis after Moscow dramatical­ly reduced gas supplies; skyrocketi­ng inflation; and several incidents in recent months involving missiles that have traversed its skies, and debris that has been found on its territory.

Moldovan authoritie­s confirmed that another missile from the war in Ukraine had entered its airspace on Friday.

Last April, tensions in Moldova also soared after a series of explosions in Transnistr­ia — a Russiaback­ed separatist region of Moldova where Russia bases about 1,500 troops — which had raised fears it could get dragged into Russia’s war in Ukraine. Transnistr­ia has a population of about 470,000 and has been under the control of separatist authoritie­s since a civil war in 1992.

Sandu claimed that Russia wants to use Moldova in the war against Ukraine, without providing more details, and that informatio­n obtained by intelligen­ce services contained what she described as instructio­ns on rules of entry to Moldova for citizens from Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and Montenegro.

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