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ISW warns of escalating Russian hybrid operations in Moldova ahead of EU accession talks

The operations may target EU accession talks and the 2024 presidential election, according to a new report.
T-64 tanks are taking part in a military parade dedicated to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of “Transnistria foundation”, in Tiraspol, on 2 September, 2015. Image: novostipmr.ru
ISW warns of escalating Russian hybrid operations in Moldova ahead of EU accession talks

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has warned that Russia can intensify hybrid operations to destabilize Moldova.

Tensions between Moscow and Moldova have raised as the country is set to begin talks to join the EU. This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would support Moldova’s autonomous region of Gagauzia after meeting the territory’s pro-Moscow leader, Politico reports.

In a new report, the Washington-based think-tank mentions the statement of the director of the Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service, Alexandru Musteata, who said that the Kremlin is already conducting an “unprecedented level” of hybrid operations aimed at keeping Moldova in Russia’s sphere of influence.

The official added that the first stage of Russian hybrid operations began with attempts to compromise local elections in 2023. Musteata added that Russia also intends to interfere in Moldova’s presidential election in 2024 and parliamentary elections in the summer of 2025.

According to Musteata, pro-Kremlin Moldovan politicians with ties to the Kremlin will try to promote pro-Russia policies in the Moldovan Parliament, directly or through Russian organized crime groups. 

He said that Moldova has evidence that Russia plans to provoke protests, incite inter-ethnic conflict and economic and social crises in Moldova, and spread anti-EU sentiment through social media platforms, including in the pro-Russian region of Gagauzia and the pro-Russian breakaway republic of Transnistria.

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