Fomenting protests that it hopes will lead to a coup, Russia is clandestinely working to topple the Moldovan government, the US charged Friday.
US intelligence indicates the Kremlin is “pursuing options to weaken the Moldovan government probably with the eventual goal of seeing a more Russian friendly administration in the capital,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
“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. Additionally, we expect another set of Russian actors to provide training and help manufactured demonstrations in Moldova,” he added.
The intelligence has been shared with officials in Chisinau “so that they can further investigate court and disrupt Russian plans,” said the White House.
The Moldovan government is staunchly opposed to Russia, in part because of tensions concerning a breakaway province controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Transnistria is internationally recognized as part of Moldova but domestically has been under the control of secessionists since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
Kirby said that while Russia’s activities in Georgia are “of concern” they should not be overestimated.
“The Moldovan government is resilient and working effectively to counter these threats. We are confident in Moldova’s democratic and economic institutions and their abilities to respond to these threats,” he said.
“We will continue to provide robust support. While these Russian actors plan for destabilization, Russian officials are trying to sow confusion about the stability of Moldova,” he added, referring to “unfounded” and “false” allegations from Moscow that Ukraine is preparing to target Transnistria that are intended to “create baseless alarm.”