Police in Moldova said on Sunday they had arrested members of a network “organized by Moscow” in an attempt to destabilize the small former Soviet country as anti-government protests erupted.
After the searches on Saturday evening, 25 people were interrogated, seven of them were detained, police chief Viarel Chernautianu told the media.
The agent was able to infiltrate the group, which was led by a Russian of Moldovan origin, he said, adding that prosecutors had recorded 10 hours of video and audio.
“People came Russia with a very specific training role,” the official added.
The authorities of Moldova stated that they acted after “receiving information about the organization of destabilizing actions on our territory by the Russian special services through demonstrations.”
The party of fugitive pro-Russian oligarch Ilkhan Shor has again mobilized people against the pro-European government in recent weeks amid rising tensions between Moscow and Chisinau.
He organized several actions, for which it is suspected that he paid the participants.
A new protest action began on Sunday afternoon in the capital Chisinau.
The White House on Friday accused Russia seeking to destabilize the Romanian-speaking country of 2.6 million people, which borders Ukraine, in order to install a pro-Russian government.
The United States said it had stepped up information sharing with the Moldovan leadership “so they can conduct further investigations” and “disrupt Russian plans.”
Moldova, formerly part of the Russia’s sphere of influence is now managed by the authorities, which are firmly focused on European integration.
Still, Chisinau has to deal with the separatist region of Transnistria, whose authorities on Thursday called on the United Nations to investigate a plot to attack several top officials blamed on Kyiv.
The Security Service of Ukraine immediately condemned the accusations as “a provocation organized by the Kremlin.”