Moldovan lawmaker and a member of the National Security Committee Andrian Keptonar stated that the country’s security services had allegedly prevented the first stage of the Kremlin's plan to destabilize the country by not letting in Serbian football fans over fears some of them could be saboteurs.

Earlier on Feb.13, Moldovan President Maia Sandu accused Russia of planning to overthrow the government through violence and hostage-taking, mentioning that it would have involved saboteurs with military training, disguised in civilian clothes, who would carry out violent attacks on state buildings as well as take hostages under the guise of opposition protests with the goal of displacing the current power in Chisinau.

Speaking the next day, Keptonar said: “A football match between Serbian and Moldovan teams was to take place this week. Initially, it was planned that fans of the Serbian team would also come to our country.

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“Thanks to the efforts of the Information and Security Service undertaken long before the information provided by (President) Zelensky, the Serbian national team will play with no fans due to plans to bring in saboteurs,” the lawmaker went on to explain.

Serbian football fans flying to Moldova on Feb. 14 for a UEFA game between Partizan Belgrade and Sheriff Tiraspol from Transistria were turned back in case there were undercover saboteurs among them. The country’s airspace was also closed on Tuesday citing “security reasons”.

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Serbia and Montenegro claimed they had not been informed about any plot or any specific individuals allegedly involved. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said he rejected Moldova’s claims, according to Balkan Insight, saying that Belgrade “demands that the Moldovan authorities urgently send us any information in their possession because we have never received such notification from Moldova to date.”

Sandu noted that the plan would involve the use of foreigners for violent actions. “Seized materials contain instructions on the rules of entry into the Republic of Moldova for citizens of Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and Montenegro. I assure you that state institutions are working to prevent these provocations and keep the situation under control," the head of state said.

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He added that Russia wants to stop Moldova's integration into the EU and drag the country into its conflict with Ukraine and that these plans for subversive actions are not new and called for maximum vigilance. 

Sandu also said that the Ukrainian partners provided “good documentation of the locations and logistical aspects for the organization of the subversive activities.”

Russia denied accusations of the involvement in coup planning, calling them “absolutely unfounded and unsubstantiated.”

On Feb 9, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Sandu that Russia plans to destabilize the political situation in Moldova and install a regime loyal to Moscow.

"We warned to protect," Zelensky said during a speech at a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels. He stated that a document exposing the Kremlin's plans to undermine the situation in Moldova had been obtained by Ukrainian intelligence.

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