AP

Zelenskyy: Ukraine caught Russian plan to ‘destroy’ Moldova

Feb 8, 2023, 2:36 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 9:36 am

European Council President Charles Michel, front right, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Z...

European Council President Charles Michel, front right, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, front second right, and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, second row center, as they pose with other European Union leaders for a group photo at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. European Union leaders are meeting for an EU summit to discuss Ukraine and migration. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that his country has intercepted plans by Russian secret services to destroy Moldova, and Moldovan intelligence confirmed the claim.

Speaking to European Union leaders in Brussels, Zelenskyy 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,” Zelenskyy 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.”

Zelenskyy said the plan was very similar to the one devised by Russia to take over Ukraine. He added that he did not know whether Moscow ultimately ordered the plan to be carried out.

After Zelenskyy’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, destabilize and violate public order.”

“At the moment, we cannot provide more details as there is a risk of jeopardizing various ongoing operational activities,” the statement read, adding that all of Moldova’s state institutions “are working at full capacity and will not allow these challenges to happen.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov charged last week that the West was considering turning Moldova into “another Ukraine.” He alleged that the West backed the 2020 election of the pro-Western Sandu, claiming that 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 warned that 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 recognized by most countries. It extends roughly 400 kilometers (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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Zelenskyy: Ukraine caught Russian plan to ‘destroy’ Moldova