Putin’s plot to take on next neighbour country revealed by European leader

Putin’s failed plot to take over a neighbouring country has been revealed, as the wae with Ukraine rages on.

Moldova’s President, Maia Sandu, revealed that Russia’s Wagner paramilitary force was the main orchestrator behind a thwarted attempt to foment a coup against her government.

Speaking during the European Union’s European Political Community summit in Spain, Sandu pointed the finger at the late leader of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, as the mastermind behind the plot to overthrow her administration.

Sandu told the Financial Times that Moscow continued its efforts to destabilise Moldova, a country strategically positioned between Ukraine and EU member Romania. She claimed that Russian operatives were channelling funds into Moldova with the aim of bribing voters in the upcoming local elections scheduled for next month.

“The information that we have is that it was a plan prepared by Prigozhin’s team,” Sandu said, referring to the alleged coup attempt.

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She added: “The situation is really dramatic and we have to protect ourselves.”

She further explained that Wagner operatives were attempting to escalate the anti-government protests that have been sporadically occurring since last year into violent incidents. Sandu stressed the severity of the situation, stressing the need for Moldova to protect itself from external threats.

This accusation is not the first of its kind. Sandu had previously accused Russia in February of plotting a coup against Moldova’s government by exploiting protests. The Russian foreign ministry has consistently denied such claims, countering that Moldova is pursuing an anti-Russian agenda.

Sandu, along with other Moldovan leaders, highlighted the persistent pressure exerted by Russia on the country, particularly concerning pricing and payment for Russian energy supplies. Additionally, Moscow wields influence through a pro-Russian separatist enclave, Transdniestria, located in Moldova’s eastern region.

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Since Sandu’s election as president in 2020, Moldova has condemned Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and has actively pursued EU membership. Prigozhin, whose mercenaries played a significant role in capturing parts of eastern Ukraine for Russia in the past year, attempted a brief mutiny against Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin in June. Tragically, he was killed in a plane crash two months later.

“Russia is going to increase its pressure on Moldova,” Sandu warned. “They tried energy and they failed. They tried to overthrow the government and they failed. And now they are trying massive interference in our elections, using a lot of money.”

Moldova’s parliament took decisive measures this week to prevent allies of fugitive businessman Ilan Shor from contesting the upcoming election.

Shor, sentenced in absentia in April to 15 years in prison for fraud, had his party banned by the Constitutional Court.

As Moldova braces for the upcoming elections amid these allegations and tensions, international scrutiny remains focused on the country’s political stability and the evolving dynamics with its powerful neighbour to the east.

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