Russia’s Psychological Operations in Moldova

Leaders of Moldova who support the EU have urged for calm and refuted Russian assertions that Ukraine intends to assault the country’s breakaway pro-Russian area.

BBC media analysts believe that the behavior of Russian officials is a psychological operation and disinformation.

Without providing any supporting proof, the Russian defense ministry claimed that Ukrainian saboteurs planned to orchestrate an invasion of Transnistria while posing as Russian soldiers to justify an invasion by their country.

Russia is attempting to grab power in region, as Moldova has been warning for several weeks.

During a visit to neighboring Romania, President Maia Sandu of Moldova talked of the extraordinary security difficulties that lay ahead.

She claimed that “some” want the demise of her nation and the installation in Chisinau of a puppet administration beholden to Russian objectives.

Despite not being a member of NATO, Moldova received EU candidate status on the same day as Ukraine in June. The leader of Moldova met with US President Joe Biden earlier this week, who assured her that he would uphold the sovereignty of her nation.

Border with Ukraine at War

With a population of just 2.6 million, Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest economies and has been heavily exposed to the war in Ukraine.

It has faced a major energy crisis because its power infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era. Not only did Russia restrict its gas supplies but its attacks on Ukraine’s power grid had knock-on effects.

The populist and pro-Russian Sor party, founded by fugitive businessman Ilan Shor, has organized rallies as a result of rampant inflation and a significant number of migrants from Ukraine.

Moreover, there appears to have been an increase in what the incoming prime minister Dorin Recean refers to as “hybrid assaults.”

On the day when the previous administration disintegrated earlier this month, in the midst of what his predecessor referred to as “multiple crises,” a Russian missile was fired toward Ukraine over Moldovan airspace.

President Sandu has accused Moscow of arranging for foreign saboteurs from Russia, Serbia, Belarus, and Montenegro to help bring down the government of Moldova. She said that their goal would be to target government structures, take hostages, and then incite uprisings to depose the current administration and install one “at the service of Russia.”

Twelve Serbian football supporters were denied entry to Chisinau shortly after she finished speaking.

The Kremlin charged Moldova’s leaders with descending into anti-Russian hysteria and cautioned them to use their words “very, very carefully.”

So – called Transnistria

With a population of only 2.6 million people, Moldova is one of the poorest economies in Europe and has been hit hard by the war in Ukraine.

It faces a major energy crisis as its energy infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era. Not only has Russia restricted gas supplies, but its attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid have had knock-on effects.

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As soon as Russian troops invaded southern Ukraine a year ago, there were fears that they would try to seize Odesa and the entire coastline to Transnistria.

This did not happen, but what Moldova’s leaders are now warning about is reminiscent of what happened in April 2022.

Earlier this week, a pro-separatist social media channel claimed to have seen Ukrainian military equipment on the highway connecting Ukraine to Moldova, but the unconvincing photo showed only a few small armored vehicles and a Ukrainian flag.

The head of Transnistria’s peacekeeping body, Oleg Belyakov, said there was no panic among the population, but Russia’s warnings “give grounds for serious concern.”

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