April 19. 2024. 9:04

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Moldova’s president warns Russia plans coup d’etat in the country

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu accused Russia on Monday (13 February) of planning to use foreign saboteurs to bring down her country’s leadership, stop it from joining the EU, and instrumentalise it in the war against Ukraine.

Sandu’s comments come only days after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last week his country had uncovered a Russian intelligence plan “for the destruction of Moldova” and days after the country’s government resigned.

Over the past months, Moldova’s president has repeatedly expressed concern about Moscow’s intentions towards the former Soviet republic and the presence of Russian troops in the breakaway Transdniestria region.

Chișinău has described recent protests against the administration’s pro-Western course as part of a Kremlin-sponsored campaign to destabilise the government.

The protests, organised by the party of exiled opposition politician Ilan Shor, marked the most serious political challenge to Sandu since her landslide election win in 2020 on a pro-European and anti-corruption platform.

“Through violent actions disguised as protests by the so-called opposition, the change of power in Chișinău would be forced,” Sandu was quoted as saying by local media.

The plans, provided to Moldova by Ukraine, would involve foreigners from Russia, Montenegro, Belarus and Serbia entering the country to carry out subversive actions and trying to spark protests in an attempt to “change the legitimate government to an illegal government controlled by the Russian Federation,” the Moldovan president said.

According to Sandu, Russia aims “to overturn the constitutional order, to change the legitimate power from Chisinau to an illegitimate one that would put [Moldova] at Russia’s disposal to stop the European integration process.”

“The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to Moldova will not work. Our main goal is the security of citizens and the state. Our goal is peace and public order in the country,” Sandu told a news briefing in Chișinău.

Russia denied last year wanting to intervene in Moldova after authorities in Transdniestria said they had been targeted by a series of attacks.

Sandu also added that another goal of Moscow’s plan is to use Moldova, likely through its breakaway region of Transnistria, in its full-scale war against Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told EU leaders during Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels that Kyiv had intercepted Russian plans to “destroy” Moldova.

Moldovan intelligence services later confirmed they had also identified “subversive activities” aimed at “undermining the state of the Republic of Moldova, destabilising and violating public order.”

Moldova’s pro-EU government falls amid economic turmoil, Russian pressure

Moldova’s pro-Western government resigned on Friday (10 February) after months marked by economic turmoil and the spillover effects of Russia’s war in neighbouring Ukraine.