Pro-European Moldova has repeatedly accused Moscow of plotting to violently overthrow the government through saboteurs disguised as anti-government protesters, charges Russia has denied. We are not currently facing “imminent military danger”, but we are subject to the “hybrid war generated by Russia”, aimed at overthrowing the government, explained Monday, March 13, the Minister of Defense, Anatolie Nosatîi, in an interview given to the press agency France Presse (AFP).
“There is no imminent military danger against Moldova at present, but there are other types of dangers that affect the country’s security – the hybrid war,” said Anatolie Nosatii.
The official spoke after anti-government demonstrations broke out over the weekend. By generating “disinformation and tensions within our society,” Russia was trying to “change the political order, destabilize and overthrow state power,” the minister said.
“The biggest challenge at the moment is a set of actions that the Russian Federation is trying to use to destabilize the situation,” he continued.
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On Sunday, police said they had arrested members of a network they suspected was orchestrated by Moscow to try to destabilize the country. The authorities said they acted after they “received information about the organization by Russian special services of destabilizing actions on our territory through demonstrations.” Just when the White House accused Russia on Friday of trying to destabilize Moldova in order to install a pro-Russian government there.
Economic aspects also played an important role in the hybrid war Nosatii said Russia was waging. For months, the government in Chisinau has accused Moscow of “energy blackmail”, which has led to the halving of Russian gas supplies to Moldova.
Moldova “is not alone”
Nosatii also lamented the repeated violation of the country’s airspace by missiles aimed at Ukraine, which he said was exacerbated by the country’s inability to “fully defend” its skies.
The nation’s 6,500-strong army is equipped with mostly dilapidated equipment dating back to the Soviet era. It needed a thorough review which would take “time and funding”, the minister said.
“Moldova’s ground forces have all types of weapons, including air defense, but they are old equipment that has not been modernized and this prevents our forces from operating at full capacity.”
Asked about Moldova’s pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria, where Moscow maintains about 1,500 troops and a large ammunition depot, Nosatîi repeated his call for the region to be demilitarized.
“We have constantly demanded the unconditional evacuation of the Russian forces stationed illegally on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, including the evacuation of the Cobasna ammunition depot.”
Transnistria broke away from Moldova in 1990 after a brief war following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The conflict has been frozen since 1992, and the breakaway region is not recognized internationally.
“The situation there is stable and under control,” despite recent comments from Moscow and local authorities to the contrary, Nosatîi told AFP.
Last week, pro-Russian authorities in Transnistria accused Kyiv of trying to assassinate their leader, Vadim Krasnoselski, fueling fears that the war in Ukraine could spread to Moldova.
Nosatîi asked Europe “to remain united and resolute in its unconditional support for Ukraine”. By supporting Ukraine with “everything it needs for victory”, Europe promotes “peace and security in all European countries, including Moldova”, he argued.
“The latest statements of the European Union and our strategic partners show once again that Moldova will not be alone, neither now nor in the future, in the face of dangers and threats, including military ones,” he concluded.