The West is actively pushing Moldova to participate in the Ukraine conflict, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) -- the successor to the Soviet Union's KGB -- said Thursday.
Ukraine has become a springboard for the war against Russia and subversive activities against Belarus, Alexander Bortnikov said at a meeting of security chiefs of the CIS Member States.
“Westerners are actively pushing Moldova into participation in the Ukrainian conflict, inciting it to clean up Transnistria by force,” Russian state-run TASS quoted Bortnikov as saying.
Secret documents uncovered in March revealed the FSB had a detailed plan for destabilizing Moldova and preventing it from joining NATO by supporting pro-Russian groups in the former Soviet republic and controlling supplies of natural gas.
Some background: Earlier this year, tensions began mounting in Moldova, a small country on Ukraine’s southwestern border, where Russia has been accused of laying the groundwork for a coup that could drag the nation into the Kremlin’s war
The flashpoint is in Transnistria – a self-proclaimed, unrecognized territory bordering southwestern Ukraine with a predominantly Russian-speaking population that broke away from Moldova in 1990 -- where Russia maintains a military presence and exerts political influence.
Moldova’s President, Maia Sandu, accused Russia in February of using “saboteurs” disguised as civilians to stoke unrest amid a period of political instability, echoing similar warnings from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has meanwhile baselessly accused Kyiv of planning its own assault on the pro-Russian territory in Moldova where Moscow has a military foothold, heightening fears that he is creating a pretext for a Crimea-style annexation.
Moldova has provided huge support for Ukraine since the start of the war – taking in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other country – and last year was granted European Union candidate status.
On Thursday, Moldova hosted a summit of the EU’s 27 member states and 20 other European countries at a castle deep in Moldova’s wine region just 12 miles (20 km) from Ukrainian territory near Transnistria, according to Reuters.