March 10, 2023
I want to address some recent developments in Moldova, a strong partner of the United States. As you also know, last month President Biden had the opportunity to meet in Warsaw with President Sandu of Moldova, where they discussed Russia’s war. President Biden also reaffirmed in that meeting U.S. support for Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and highlighted our ongoing assistance to help Moldova strengthen its political and economic resilience, including its democratic reform agenda and its energy security.
Like President Sandu, we see no immediate military threat to Moldova. But in recent weeks, President Sandu has warned publicly that Russia is seeking to destabilize her country. We share these concerns. And so, in the spirit of our partnership with Moldova, I am able to share our own information, including from intelligence, about Russian efforts to destabilize Moldova.
Russian destabilization campaign
As Moldova continues to integrate with Europe, we believe Russia is pursuing options to weaken the Moldovan government, probably with the eventual goal of seeing a more Russian friendly administration in the capital.
More specifically, Russian actors, some with current ties to Russian intelligence, are seeking to stage and use protests in Moldova as a basis to foment a manufactured insurrection against the Moldovan Government.
Additionally, we expect another set of Russian actors to provide training and help manufacture demonstrations in Moldova.
In years past, we have seen Russia try and fail to destabilize other European countries, Montenegro in 2016 is a recent example. While the activities of Russian groups attempting to target Moldova are of concern, we should not overestimate their capabilities. I want to emphasize that the Moldovan government is resilient and working effectively to counter these threats. We are confident in
Moldova’s democratic and economic institutions and their abilities to respond to these threats, and, of course, we will continue to provide robust support.
While these Russian actors plan for destabilization, Russian officials are trying to sow confusion about the stability of Moldova. We have seen Russian officials allege, for instance, that Ukraine is planning to target the separatist region of Transnistria. Let me be clear: These allegations are unfounded, false, and they can create baseless alarm.
So, in response to Russia’s planning to destabilize Moldova, we are taking a range of steps.
First, we’re going to build on the information Moldova possesses. We have shared the information I have outlined, as well as additional details, with our Moldovan counterparts – so that they can further investigate, thwart, and disrupt Russian plans. We will continue to work closely with the Moldovan government on this.
Second, we will continue to shine a light on the identities and activities of these Russian actors. In October, for instance, we sanctioned nine individuals and 12 entities involved in the destabilization of Moldova, including oligarchs widely recognized for corrupting Moldova’s state institutions, and those acting as instruments of Russia’s global influence campaign. We’re going to continue to target and sanction those associated with Russian mechanisms for destabilization.
And third, as I said, we will continue to support the people and government of Moldova as they deal with the consequences of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine and as they integrate more closely with Europe. The United States has provided more than $265 million in emergency support since February 2022 to help Moldova with the economic, energy, security, and humanitarian impacts of the war while maintaining progress on its economic and democratic reform agenda.
To further support Moldova and the Moldovan economy, our administration is working with Congress to provide Moldova an additional $300 million in energy assistance to address the urgent needs created by the war in Ukraine and to strengthen Moldova’s resilience and energy security.
The United States strongly supports Moldova’s political, economic, and anti-corruption reforms and their deepening European integration. The Moldovan people have clearly demonstrated they want to look to a brighter future. We want to see that brighter future too, and we’re going to stand with Moldova every step of the way.