CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) – Moldova’s president on Monday outlined what she described as Moscow’s conspiracy to use external saboteurs to overthrow her country’s government, make the nation “available to Russia” and her aspirations to one day join the European Union to join, to derail .
President Maia Sandu’s briefing comes a week after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country had intercepted plans by Russian intelligence agencies to destroy Moldova, claims later confirmed by Moldovan intelligence officials.
“The plan for the next period calls for actions involving military-trained diversionists, disguised in civilian clothes, who will carry out violent actions, attack some state buildings and even take hostages,” Sandu told reporters at a briefing.
“The purpose of these actions is to overthrow the constitutional order, to turn the legitimate power of Chisinau into an illegitimate one,” Sandu said, “which our country would provide to Russia to stop the European integration process. ”
She defiantly swore: “The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence into our country will not succeed.”
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine almost 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, on the same day as Ukraine, it was granted candidate status to the European Union.
Sandu said that between October and December, the Moldovan police and its Intelligence and Security Service (SIS) intervened in “several cases of organized crime elements and stopped attempts at violence.”
Over the past year, non-NATO Moldova has faced a number of problems. These include a severe energy crisis after Moscow drastically cut gas supplies; skyrocketing inflation; and several incidents in recent months involving missiles that have traversed its skies and debris found on its territory.
Moldovan authorities confirmed that another missile from the war in Ukraine had entered their airspace on Friday.
The story goes on
Sandu said Russia wants to use Moldova in the war against Ukraine, without giving further details, and that the information obtained by the intelligence agencies contained what she described as instructions on entry requirements for citizens of Russia, Belarus, Serbia and Montenegro to Moldova.
“I assure you that the state institutions are working to prevent these challenges and keep the situation under control,” Sandu said.
She said the Parliament of Moldova must pass bills to equip its intelligence and security service and prosecutor’s office “with the necessary tools to more effectively combat risks to the country’s security.”
The president added that the plan “would be based on several internal forces, but particularly on criminal groups” and named two Moldovan oligarchs, Ilan Shor and Vladimir Plahotniuc, both currently in exile. Both men were sanctioned by the US and UK last year
Last fall, a series of mass anti-government protests organized by Shor’s populist, pro-Russian Shor party also rocked Moldova amid the energy crisis.
Monday’s presidential press conference follows the resignation of Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita on Friday. On the same day, Sandu appointed her defense and security adviser, pro-Western economist Dorin Recean, to succeed Gavrilita.
On Friday, after Moldovan authorities confirmed the missile incident, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters in Washington that “Russia has for years supported influence and destabilization campaigns in Moldova, often involving arming Corruption goes to achieve its goals.”
McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania
Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine