After almost a year of fighting in Ukraine, the Russian government could be planning to overthrow the democratically elected government of Moldova, the country’s president alleged.
Maia Sandu, in a press briefing, said the Kremlin had been conducting underground plans to topple the government in Chisinau, which the Moldovan intelligence services have uncovered.
“The plan for the next period involves actions with the involvement of diversionists with military training, camouflaged in civilian clothes, who will undertake violent actions, attack some state buildings, and even take hostages,” Ms Sandu told reporters. “The purpose of these actions is to overthrow the constitutional order, to change the legitimate power from Chisinau to an illegitimate one which would put our country at the disposal of Russia, in order to stop the European integration process.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moldova has been tilting towards the European Union, hoping to become a permanent member in the coming months and years. In June last year, on the same day as Ukraine, Moldova was granted European Union candidate status. Being a part of the former Soviet Union, the Kremlin no doubt sees Moldova as part of it and could fight the influence of the Western powers in the small country.
However, president Sandu vowed to resist every attempt by the Russian government to install an illegal government in the country.
“The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to our country will not succeed,” the 50-year-old leader stated.
The country of about 2.6 million people has been hit by various challenges since the war in Ukraine began. Last year, the Kremlin significantly reduced the gas supply to Moldova, triggering a severe energy crisis and sending inflation rates to the rooftop. Apart from the economic challenges triggered by the war, several missiles from the warring nations have traversed the country’s airspace, and particles of these dangerous weapons have been found in its territory.
On Friday, the government in Chișinău said another missile from Russia entered the country’s airspace. Earlier, President Zelensky said Ukraine uncovered plans by Russia to destroy Moldova and other countries, but President Sandu said the government is ready to protect the 2.6 million people in the country.
“I assure you that the state institutions are working to prevent these challenges and keep the situation under control,” Sandu said, adding that new instructions would be given on how Russians, Belarusians, Serbians, and Montenegros should enter the country.
She insisted that it was time for the country’s parliament to adopt laws to strengthen the Intelligence and Security Service as well as the prosecutor’s office “with the necessary tools to combat more effectively the risks to the country’s security.”
Ms Sandu insisted that the plans of the Russian government would only succeed if the internal forces, especially criminal groups, join hands with the enemy to carry out its intention.
Moments before the press briefing, the country’s prime minister Natalia Gavrilita resigned from her position and was replaced by Dorin Recean.
Moldova closes its airspace
Following fears that Russia could have a hidden agenda regarding Moldova, the country’s airspace has been closed temporarily.
“Dear passengers, at this moment, the airspace of the Republic of Moldova is closed. We are waiting for the resumption of flights,” Air Moldova said on Tuesday.
Is Serbia part of the game?
President Maia Sandu, during her press briefing, said some Serbians could be involved in the plan to topple the Moldovan government. Following her claim, the government has instructed the country’s football federation to bar fans from attending a match between a Moldovan club and a Serbian football club. The match, which is scheduled for February 16 in Chisinau between FC Sheriff of Tiraspol and FK Partizan of Belgrade, will now be played without the supporters of both teams.
“We apologise to football fans for the inconvenience caused,” the statement by the football federation reads, adding that fans would get a refund for their ticket.
Although no reason was given for the decision, it was most likely that it was part of the safety measures being taken by the government in Chisinau and a way of preventing Serbian infiltrators from entering the country.
It’s another propaganda, Russia says
The Russian government has clearly denied any plan to overthrow the president of Moldova and install a puppet administration. In a statement by the country’s foreign ministry, it accused Ukraine of sowing a seed of division between both countries and was trying to drag the small country into the conflict.
“Such claims are completely unfounded and unsubstantiated,” Russia’s foreign ministry stated. “They are built in the spirit of classical techniques that are often used by the United States, other Western countries and Ukraine.”
“First, accusations are made with reference to purportedly classified intelligence information that cannot be verified, and then they are used to justify their own illegal actions,” the statement added.