Russia Working to Overthrow Moldovan Government, White House Says

Russian efforts to “destabilize” and overthrow the Moldovan government are currently underway, the White House warned on Friday, though the United States sees “no immediate military threat” to the Eastern European country.

“We believe Russia 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 spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a March 10 phone call.

Specifically, Russian actors—including some with ties to Russian intelligence—plan to stage protests in Moldova to “foment a manufactured insurrection against the Moldovan government,” Kirby said.

“Additionally, we expect another set of Russian actors to provide training, and help manufacture demonstrations in Moldova.”

He emphasized, however, that the United States was confident in Moldova’s ability to counter the threat—a view also shared by Kent Logsdon, the U.S. ambassador to Moldova.

“The United States respects Moldova’s sovereignty, its territorial integrity, and its constitutional neutrality,” Logsdon said in a Friday statement.  “We also respect the choice the Moldovan people made when they elected a government committed to reform and European integration. The United States remains confident in the ability of this government to deliver on those promises and to successfully manage these threats.

“The Moldovan people, Moldovan business owners, and international investors should also feel confident that the government of Moldova is well-positioned to implement the meaningful reforms necessary for this country’s economic growth and to defend this country against those from outside who do not wish to see Moldova succeed.”

Moldova, which is situated between Ukraine and Romania, has been plagued by protests amid rising inflation and energy costs and divisions over the Russia-Ukraine war.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu was elected in 2020 on a promise to integrate the country into the European Union. Sandu has portrayed the protests as a Russian attempt to prevent that integration and overthrow Moldova’s constitutional order.

Moscow, for its part, has denied those claims, though Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted last month that Russia’s relations with Moldova were “very tense” and accused the country of promoting “anti-Russian hysteria,” according to Reuters.

In his Friday remarks, Kirby noted that additional intelligence had been shared with the Moldovan government to help the country “investigate, thwart, and disrupt” Russia’s alleged plans. He also advised that the administration is currently working with Congress to approve $300 million in energy assistance to offset the impacts of the war in Ukraine.

“The United States strongly supports Moldova’s political, economic, and anti-corruption reforms and their deepening European integration,” Kirby said.

“The Moldovan people have clearly demonstrated they want to look to a brighter future. We want to see that brighter future too, and we’re going to stand with Moldova every step of the way.”

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