Moldova spy chief warns on new destabilisation attempts by Russia

Moldova spy chief warns on new destabilisation attempts by Russia
Moldova spy chief warns on new destabilisation attempts by Russia

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Moscow denies the allegations of interference and accuses Moldova of stoking anti-Russian sentiment in the country, which lies between Ukraine and Romania. — AFP pic

KYIV, March 5 — Moldova’s spy chief said today that Russia was planning fresh attempts to meddle in the country’s internal affairs by provoking protests, interfering in upcoming presidential elections, and disrupting plans to join the European Union.

Alexandru Musteata, head of the Information and Security Service, said his agency had intercepted a record level of activities by the Russian security services since 2023 and expected more destabilising actions this year and next.

“Russian intelligence services intend to interfere in the election processes this year as well,” Musteata told media.

“We have information that attempts are being made to compromise a referendum on the European integration, interfere in the presidential elections, as well as discredit government institutions and politicians who support Moldova’s accession to the European Union.”

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Relations between Moldova and Russia have disintegrated as the government has steered a pro-European course and accused Moscow of trying to destabilise it. The ex-Soviet state’s pro-Western president Maia Sandu has denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as she leads Moldova on a path to join the EU and defence alliance Nato.

Moscow denies the allegations of interference and accuses Sandu of stoking anti-Russian sentiment in the country, which lies between Ukraine and Romania.

Sandu plans to run for a second term in the presidential election expected this autumn, and her party won more than 40 per cent of the votes cast for mayors, city officials, district and village councils. The government also plans a nationwide referendum on its pro-European drive although no dates have been set yet.

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Musteata said Moscow tried to meddle in the local elections last November in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries. Moscow has denied such interference.

Musteata said Moscow was also planning to interfere in the presidential vote by supporting pro-Russian politicians and parties. Russia would likely provoke protests in Moldova in March and April and stir up separatist sentiments, especially in the east and south of Moldova, he said.

Last month, the pro-Moscow head of Moldova’s Gagauzia region asked Russia for its support and to maintain close ties. Also in February, Moldova’s breakaway Transdniestria region asked Russia to help its economy withstand Moldovan “pressure”. — Reuters

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