Moldova dismissed claims made by Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday that Ukraine “saboteurs” were prepping a false flag attack on a pro-Russian breakaway region in the country.
The warning, announced on the Russian Defense Ministry’s Telegram account, suggested the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) task force involved would dress up as civilian Russians. “As a pretext for the invasion, it is planned to stage an alleged offensive of Russian troops from the territory of Transnistria,” the message warned, referring to the pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova. “To do this, the Russian saboteurs participating in the staged invasion will be dressed in the uniform of the military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”
In the build up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago, the Kremlin attempted to stage or mock up a number of incidents in the Luhansk and Donbas regions which they claimed were Ukrainian military actions targeting pro-Russians. Alarmingly for Moldova, it was all just a pretext for their own all-out assault on their neighbor.
Moldova responded to the alert with its own Telegram message, denying the allegations and calling for restraint. “We call for calm and for information to be received (by the public) from official and credible sources of the Republic of Moldova,” they wrote. “Our institutions cooperate with foreign partners and in the case of threats to the country, the public will be promptly informed.”
It is not the first time Moldova, a former Soviet nation which borders Russia and NATO member Romania, has been drawn into the conflict. In early February, Russia violated Moldovan air space with an attack missile into Ukraine. And the country’s president warned that the Kremlin was instigating a coup to prevent Moldova from its bid to join the European Union, which Moscow denied.
Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu told the Fincancial Times that his country was seeking E.U. sanctions on Russian oligarch Ilan Șor, who they claim is helping Russia wage war on the country. “We don’t see the risk of military scenarios in the immediate future at the Moldovan border, thanks to Ukrainian resistance and resilience. But hybrid subversion, attempted coup d’état, yes, there are Rrisks,” Popescu said. “This oligarch [Șor] is continuing to attack Moldova. We hope the EU will sanction the corrupt individuals waging, together with and on behalf of Russia, hybrid war against the Moldovan government.”
This week Russian president Vladimir Putin announced he would be tearing up a 2012 decree between the two nations meant to solve the status of Transnistria, which broke away from Moldova in 1990 with an eye to joining Russia. Moldova fought the separatists in 1992, but then gave in to Russian “peacekeepers” who are still posted in the region.
Ukraine president Vlodomyr Zelensky told a security council meeting in Munich last week that it was “obvious” Putin would not stop with Ukraine and that it was working on ways to “strangle” Moldova.
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