Russia has been plotting to overthrow Moldova’s pro-Western government in a bid to put it at the Kremlin’s disposal and prevent its integration into the European Union, the country’s president said Monday. Maia Sandu said the alleged plot was confirmed by Moldovan intelligence officials after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed his government had intercepted documents outlining the plan.
Russia denied the accusations. “These are baseless and unsubstantiated claims,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an emailed statement.
But Sandu’s announcement has renewed concerns over Moscow’s attempts to pressure Moldova, a former Soviet republic that borders Ukraine. The campaign has escalated over the past year and The Washington Post reported in October how Russia’s Federal Security Service funneled tens of millions of dollars into Moldova to create a network of influential pro-Russian politicians there.
Russia also occupies the breakaway state of Transnistria in Moldova’s east. And early in the war with Ukraine, a Russian military commander suggested that Moscow aims to establish a corridor through southern Ukraine to Transnistria.
Sandu said Monday that Russia hoped to capitalize on public discontent over the fallout from the war, including widespread power outages and soaring inflation, to install a new government. Transnistria is also home to the power plant that supplies the vast majority of Moldova’s electricity supply.
Here’s what to know about Moldova, Transnistria and Russia’s apparent meddling in the region.