Moldova says it thwarted Russia-linked plot ahead of anti-government protests – POLITICO
The Moldovan police said on Sunday that they arrested a group of men with ties to Russia who were scheming to whip up unrest at anti-government protests in Moldova.
The arrests come just a few days after the White House warned that Moscow is trying to “weaken the Moldovan government.”
Moldova, a small country of around 2.5 million people located between Romania and Ukraine, has been facing mounting political pressure from Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moldova, which is led by pro-Western President Maia Sandu, was granted candidate status for EU membership last June.
Last month, Sandu said the Kremlin was planning to stage a coup in Moldova.
The head of Moldova’s police, Viorel Cernăuțeanu, revealed on Sunday that 50 to 100 people were set to be involved in the plot, each to receive up to $10,000 for participating in the anti-government demonstrations.
The Moldovan police said they managed to foil the plot on Saturday, leading to seven people being detained, after an undercover agent infiltrated the group.
The recent wave of anti-government protests has been staged by the Movement for the People group, which is supported by the small pro-Kremlin Shor party.
“Russian actors, some with current ties to Russian intelligence, are seeking to stage and use protests in Moldova as a basis to foment a manufactured insurrection against the Moldovan government,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby warned on Friday. He added that the goal is probably for Moscow to install a pro-Kremlin administration.
Moldova’s Minister of Internal Affairs Ana Revenco said: “I send the warning to the traitors of the country that they will soon stand before the court, no matter how much money and help they receive to destroy our country.”
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