UK US and Canada accuse Russia of interfering in Moldovan elections

Russia of interfering in Moldovan elections

The UK, US and Canada have jointly called out Russia for plotting to influence Moldova's upcoming presidential election and referendum on European Union membership later this year.

The three governments in a joint statement issued on the first day of the G7 summit, accused Russian actors of "spreading lies" and being engaged in a long-running campaign of political interference aimed at weakening Moldova's democratic institutions.

The three countries said Moscow was trying to undermine Moldova's pro-western president, Maia Sandu, before the next presidential election and referendum on EU membership. Both votes are due on 20 October.

The former Soviet nation bordering Ukraine has long feared Russian meddling in its internal affairs, particularly in the Kremlin-backed breakaway region of Transnistria and the autonomous southern region of Gagauzia. Sandu's administration has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine in its conflict with Moscow.

According to the UK, US and Canadian governments, Russian actors were seeking to foment negative public view of Sandu, western governments and the prospect of Moldovan membership of the EU.

Notably, Sandu has been president since 2020, when she was elected with 57.7% of the vote in the final runoff.

The three governments accused Russia of actively using disinformation and propaganda online, on the air, and on their streets to further their objectives of degrading public confidence in Moldova's ability to secure itself and maintain rule of law

The three countries further said that if Sandu were re-elected, there is reason to believe Moscow will work to provoke protests

They said they were working closely with the Moldovan government and had already sanctioned actors involved, with further sanctions being considered.

We will support Moldova and the Moldovan people as they manage Kremlin interference and the impacts of Russia's brutal war against Ukraine  the statement from the UK, US and Canada said.

We strongly support Moldova's democratic, economic, security, and anticorruption reforms and deepening European integration.

We have exposed the Kremlin's plot to interfere in Moldova's elections. This action sends a strong message, we champion free and fair elections, and we will not stand idly by while Russia undermines democratic processes. We call on the Kremlin to cease these attempts to subvert Moldovan democracy and respect the country's sovereignty and the results of a free, fair, and independent election,