Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country has intercepted plans by Russian secret services to destroy Moldova.
Speaking to European Union leaders in Brussels, Mr Zelensky said he recently told Moldovan President Maia Sandu about the alleged scheme.
“I have informed her that we have intercepted the plan of the destruction of Moldova by the Russian intelligence,” Mr Zelensky said through a translator.
He said the documents showed “who, when and how” the plan would “break the democracy of Moldova and establish control over Moldova”.
Mr Zelensky said the plan was very similar to the one devised by Russia to take over Ukraine.
He said he did not know whether Moscow ultimately ordered the plan to be carried out.
After Mr Zelensky’s comments, Moldova’s Intelligence and Security Service released a statement confirming it has received “respective information from our Ukrainian partners” and said it has also identified “subversive activities, aimed to undermine the Republic of Moldova, destabilise and violate public order”.
“At the moment, we cannot provide more details as there is a risk of jeopardising various ongoing operational activities,” the statement read.
It added that all of Moldova’s state institutions “are working at full capacity and will not allow these challenges to happen”.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said last week the West is considering turning Moldova into “another Ukraine”.
He said the West backed the 2020 election of the pro-western Ms Sandu, claiming she is eager to take the country into Nato, merge Moldova with Romania and “practically is ready for anything”.
In December, Moldova’s national intelligence agency said Russia could launch a new offensive this year with the aim of creating a land corridor through southern Ukraine to Moldova’s Moscow-backed breakaway region of Transnistria.
Transnistria broke away after a 1992 civil war but is not recognised by most countries. It extends roughly 250 miles from the eastern bank of the Dniester River to the country’s border with Ukraine.
Russia has about 1,500 troops nominally as “peacekeepers” in the breakaway region.
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