Russia is planning a coup in Moldova, says President Maia Sandu – Politico

Russia wants to stage a coup in Moldova, the country’s President Maia Sandu said on Monday.

Sandu called for heightened security measures in Moldova after the pro-EU government resigned last week following months of pressure from Moscow, which has waged an all-out war against neighboring Ukraine.

“The plan included assassinations and acts of violence by military-trained men masquerading as civilians, attacks on government buildings and hostage-taking,” Sandu told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

He added that citizens of Russia, Montenegro, Belarus and Serbia would be among those entering Moldova to try to spread protests in an attempt to “change an illegitimate government controlled by the Russian Federation to an illegitimate government to stop the EU integration process”.

Last June, Moldova, along with Ukraine, was granted candidate status for the European Union.

Sandu’s comments came after he named a new prime minister on Friday to put his country on a pro-EU course following the fall of the previous day’s government.

“Reports received from our Ukrainian partners indicate the location and logistical aspects of organizing this destructive activity. The plan also envisages the use of foreigners for violent actions,” he said, adding that Moldovan authorities confirmed earlier statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about Russia’s plan to create unrest.

Zelensky told EU leaders at the European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday that Ukraine had thwarted Russia’s plans to “destroy” Moldova, which Moldovan intelligence services later confirmed.

The Moldovan government has long accused Russia, which bases troops in the former breakaway region of Transnistria, of fomenting unrest in the country, including protests in the capital Chisinau.

Sandu on Monday asked Moldova’s parliament to adopt draft laws to equip its intelligence and security services and the prosecutor’s office “with the necessary tools to more effectively deal with risks” to the country’s security. “The most aggressive form of attack is an informational attack,” he said, urging citizens to trust only information from authorities.

“The Kremlin’s efforts to bring violence to Moldova will not work. Our main goal is the security of citizens and the state,” Sandu said.

Anna Fota contributed reporting.