Moldova accuses Russia of plotting to topple government

'Saboteurs with military background' will seek to overthrow the government, says Moldovan President

President of Moldova Maia Sandu at the presidential palace in Chisinau on February 13. EPA
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Russia is plotting to violently overthrow Moldova's pro-European leadership with the help of saboteurs disguised as anti-government protesters, Moldova's President Maia Sandu said on Monday.

Ms Sandu said the plan would involve "saboteurs with military background, camouflaged in civilian clothes, to undertake violent actions, attacks on state institutions and taking hostages".

Under the guise of "protests by the so-called opposition", the saboteurs would aim to "overthrow the constitutional order and replace the legitimate power of Chisinau with an illegitimate one", she said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week told an EU summit that Kyiv had "intercepted the plan for the destruction of Moldova by Russian intelligence".

Moldova, a country of 2.6 million people neighbouring Romania and Ukraine, received EU candidate status in the summer of 2022.

But over the past year it has faced anti-government protests organised by a fugitive oligarch named Ilan Shor.

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Ms Sandu said that, along with internal forces such as those controlled by Mr Shor, Moscow would use foreign citizens from Russia, Belarus, Serbia and Montenegro to implement its plans.

Moldova's Parliament would therefore need to "quickly adopt" the laws that would provide the country's Intelligence and Security Service and the prosecutors with "the necessary means to fight more efficiently against national security threats", she said.

But the "Kremlin's attempts to bring violence to our country will fail", she said.

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Over the past year, the war in Ukraine has repeatedly caused security concerns as debris from Russian missiles landed on Moldovan territory.

Moldova also suffered energy blackouts after Ukraine stopped exporting electricity because of Russian airvstrikes on critical infrastructure.

Updated: February 13, 2023, 11:40 PM