Russia accuses Ukraine of trying to invade Moldova

Fears that Russia could be planning to invade Moldova have intensified after the Kremlin made a bizarre claim that Ukrainian troops disguised as Russian soldiers are planning to occupy the country. The Kremlin currently has a large number of troops stationed in Transnistria, an unrecognised breakaway state controlled by Russia but internationally recognised as part of Moldova, and last week Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky passed on intelligence information suggesting Putin would try to overthrow the Western-leaning Government using these forces.

In a series of ominous statements issued at 6am on Thursday morning, Moscow said Ukraine was planning to invade Transnistria as part of a “false flag” military operation.

They suggested the soldiers would be disguised as the Russian Armed Forces to make Putin look responsible for the invasion.

The Russian defence ministry said: “The defence ministry is closely monitoring the situation on the border between Ukraine and the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic and is ready to respond to any changes.”

They alleged that “according to obtained information, in the near future, the Kyiv regime is planning an armed false-flag operation against the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic which will be implemented by the units of Ukraine’s armed forces with the involvement of the Azov nationalist formation…

“To this end, Ukrainian saboteurs involved in the false-flag invasion will be wearing the uniforms of the servicemen of the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces.”

There is no independent evidence that Ukraine is plotting an invasion of Transnistria, which has been occupied by Russian troops since the end of the Soviet era.

And it comes as the US Government said it was “deeply concerned” at Ukrainian reports of a Kremlin-backed coup to overthrow the West-leaning government of Moldova.

It has been suggested that Putin could grab the capital city Chisinau and use its airport to open a western front in its war with Ukraine.

Fears were then deepened further on Tuesday when Putin revoked a 2012 decree underpinning Moldova’s security.

‘We are deeply concerned by reports of a plot by Russia to destabilise Moldova’s democratically-elected government,’ said a US state department spokesperson.

Western officials have suggested that the comments made by the Kremlin on Thursday morning are part of a disinformation campaign aimed at legitimising Russia’s own invasion of Moldova.

Moldova has denied as false the Russian claims about any Ukrainian moves on Transnistria. They also issued a call for calm.

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“We call for calmness and obtaining information from official and trusted sources of the Republic of Moldova,” said the government in Chisinau.

President of Moldova Maia Sandu responded by accusing Russia of plotting to use foreign “saboteurs” to overthrow her democratic government of Moldova.

Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries, wedged between Romania and Ukraine.

The Government of Moldova views the presence of Russian troops in Transnistria as illegitimate.

It has repeatedly called for their withdrawal and replacement by international forces.

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