Russia and ‘fugitive oligarchs’ pile pressure on Moldova, top minister says
Friday, 10 March, 2023, 18:42
The situation in Moldova is “extremely volatile,” Interior Minister Ana Revenco said Friday, amid fears that Russia is fomenting a coup to topple the pro-EU Moldovan government.
“We are seeing how Moscow, interest groups and fugitive oligarchs are putting together all of their efforts and resources to increase the level of destabilization in the Republic of Moldova [and] change the democratic course in Chișinău,” Revenco said at a joint press conference with European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson in Brussels.
Asked if Moldova could become the next Ukraine, Revenco said “democracy and peace in Europe” were Russia’s next targets, and called on the EU to keep supporting the former Soviet republic.
Moldova — which was granted candidate status to the EU last June, together with Ukraine — has been facing mounting pressure from Moscow since the beginning of its war on Ukraine.
Last month, Moldovan President Maia Sandu revealed the Kremlin’s plans to stage a coup d’état in the country, enclaved between Romania and Ukraine and home to around 2.5 million people.
“The plan included sabotage and militarily trained people disguised as civilians to carry out violent actions, attacks on government buildings and taking hostages,” Sandu said.
Sandu’s announcement came just days after a government collapse, following which she nominated a pro-European figure, Dorin Recean, to be prime minister and keep the country on an EU trajectory.
Two weeks later, Moldovan intelligence services expelled two foreigners, whose country of origin was not disclosed, for taking part in subversive activities to cause a “violent change to the constitutional order.”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine last February, will not stop there, Commissioner Johansson warned at the press conference Friday.
“We should not be naive: Putin also would like to destroy, destabilize, divide the European Union, and Moldova,” she said.
“That’s why our cooperation in the area of security is so important,” added Johansson, who is set to meet with Revenco and EU interior ministers on Friday in Brussels.
“We will not let Putin win,” Johansson said.
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