After abruptly ousting her Prime Minister last week and replacing her with a designate approved by the Western security apparatus, the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, working in coordination with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is moving to bring her country into the conflict in the neighboring country. This is causing serious consternation in the country as Moldova is bound to neutrality by its constitution.
Earlier today, Sandu accused the Russian Federation of working to destabilize the Republic of Moldova and to change its leadership. She offered no evidence for her claims other than to say that they were ‘confirmed’ by state agencies. The Moldovan President said the Russian plan involves saboteurs with military training, camouflaged as civilians, to undertake violent actions, attacks on state buildings, and take hostages. It is important to note that Sandu has a 28% approval rating in Moldova and her ruling Party of Action and Solidarity stands at only 33%, which may explain her concern for her own political position.
Following the playbook used by Zelensky to crush any political opposition in Ukraine, Sandu asserted “Through violent actions, masked under protests of the so-called opposition, the change of power in Chisinau was to be forced. The documents received from our Ukrainian partners demonstrate good documentation of the locations and the logistical aspects of the organization of these subversive activities. Also, the plan involves the use of people from outside the country for violent actions. The materials contain instructions on the rules of entry into the Republic of Moldova for citizens of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, Serbia, and Montenegro.”
She admitted that the threat comes from within her country, accusing “criminal groups,” such as the Şor formation (the opposition party of former mayor of Orhei, Ilan Șor, forced into exile), military veterans, former law enforcement officials, and people connected with Vladimir Plahotniuc, another opposition leader currently in exile in Turkey. “The purpose of these actions is to overthrow the constitutional order, to replace the legitimate power in Chisinau with an illegitimate one, which would put our country at the disposal of Russia, in order to stop the process of European integration, but also so that the Republic of Moldova can be used by Russia in the war against Ukraine,” Maia Sandu charged.
The Moldovan President also appears to be preparing for another crackdown on the media, after closing six television stations the regime in Chișinău accused of disseminating propaganda in December. Taking another page from the Zelensky playbook, she declared, “All those who participate in these actions against the state and all those who protect them must be held accountable. The safety of citizens and the security of the country is our main concern and we will do everything necessary to protect our state and citizens, peace, and public order. I urge you to remain vigilant, to be careful, and to believe the official information, because the most aggressive form of attack is the informational attack.”
Last Thursday, in Brussels, Zelensky told European Union leaders that his country intercepted a “plan to destroy the Republic of Moldova” from the Russian secret services and that he contacted Sandu about it. Zelensky admitted that he did not know if the Kremlin had ordered the plan, but he said it was “nothing new” and similar to what Moscow is “trying to implement against Ukraine and other European countries.” No credible evidence to support his assertions has come to light. From Zelensky’s remarks, it seems likely that this is a Ukrainian disinformation operation designed to draw Moldova into the conflict and to reinforce waning support for Ukraine among Western nations.
When asked about Sandu’s claims, White House national security spokesman John Kirby called them “deeply concerning,” but admitted the alleged plot had not been independently confirmed. He added that the Moldovan President’s assertions were “certainly not outside the bounds of Russian behavior, and we absolutely stand with the Moldovan government and the Moldovan people.”
Within the country, Sandu’s claims have increased political tensions. The opposition Bloc of Communists and Socialists slammed her comments as irresponsible. A statement posted on the Socialist Party website declared, “The Bloc of Communists and Socialists condemns President Maia Sandu’s claim during a briefing on February 13, 2023, where she pronounced that Russia is allegedly plotting a state coup and destabilization in Moldova involving ‘saboteurs with military training.’”
They demanded that the security services present evidence of such plans. “Otherwise such statements will be considered a provocation geared to drag Moldova into the armed conflict, whip up tension in society, intimidate the opposition, and tighten political prosecution of all those having different views.”
According to Sandu, last year’s opposition protests in the country and the current energy crisis stem are tied to these plans and not to her policies that have reduced the standard of living of citizens and restricted their freedoms. The Moldovan President sounds like an increasingly paranoid leader as her base of popular support in the country has eroded. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that the West trying to transform Moldova into “another Ukraine.” These new statements by the Moldovan President, orchestrated by Zelensky, seem to lend some credibility to Lavrov’s assessment of the situation.