Russia wants to stage a coup d’état in Moldova, the country’s President Maia Sandu said Monday.
Sandu called for heightened security measures in Moldova after the pro-EU government resigned last week, following months of pressure from Moscow which is waging an all-out war on neighboring Ukraine.
“The plan included sabotage and militarily trained people disguised as civilians to carry out violent actions, attacks on government buildings and taking hostages,” Sandu told reporters at a press conference Monday.
She added that citizens of Russia, Montenegro, Belarus and Serbia would be among those entering Moldova to try to spark protests in an attempt to “change the legitimate government to an illegitimate government, controlled by the Russian Federation to stop the EU integration process.”
Moldova was granted candidate status to the European Union last June, together with Ukraine.
Sandu’s remarks come after she nominated a new prime minister on Friday to keep her country on a pro-EU trajectory after the previous government fell earlier in the day.
“Reports received from our Ukrainian partners indicate the locations and logistical aspects of organizing this subversive activity. The plan also envisages the use of foreigners for violent actions,” she said, adding that earlier statements from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about Russia’s plans to stoke unrest have been confirmed by Moldova’s authorities.
The Moldovan government has long accused Russia, which bases soldiers in the breakaway region of Transnistria in the east, of stirring unrest in the country, including protests in the capital, Chișinău.
Sandu on Monday asked Moldova’s parliament to adopt draft laws to equip its Intelligence and Security Service, and the prosecutor’s office, “with the necessary tools to combat more effectively the risks” to the country’s security. “The most aggressive form of attack is an informational attack,” she said, urging citizens to only trust information they receive from the authorities.
“The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to Moldova will not work. Our main goal is the security of citizens and the state,” Sandu said.
Russia dismissed Sandu’s accusations as “completely unfounded and unsubtantiated,” and denied it had plans to destabilize the country, a spokeswoman to the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement released Tuesday.
Ana Fota and Nicolas Camut contributed reporting.