Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov publicly rejected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent offer to host a negotiation platform for Russia and Ukraine. Lavrov attended the Antalya Diplomatic Forum in Turkey on March 1 and responded to a question about Erdogan’s offer by stating that there are no current dialogue initiatives that consider Russian interests.

Lavrov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and other Kremlin officials routinely feign openness to negotiations while promoting information operations that place the onus for negotiations on the West. Lavrov’s demand for a dialogue initiative that accounts for Russian interests is part of a longstanding effort to prompt preemptive Western concessions regarding Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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Lavrov used the Antalya Diplomatic Forum to promote Kremlin narratives about Moldova, likely to set conditions for potential Kremlin hybrid operations that aim to destabilize Moldova and prevent Moldova’s accession to the European Union.

He answered a question about the recent Congress of Deputies held in pro-Russian Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria, which requested that Russia provide Transnistria “defense/protection.” Lavrov claimed that the Moldovan government is ”moving in Kyiv’s footsteps,” reiterating his previous comparisons of Moldovan policies towards Transnistria to Ukraine before 2014.[

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Moscow has been accused of forcibly taking Ukrainian children into Russian territory during its full-scale offensive, with Lvova-Belova wanted by the ICC on charges related to those allegations.

Lavrov continued to claim that Moldova is discriminating against Russian speakers, applying ”economic pressure” to Transnistria, and blocking the 5+2 negotiating process for the Transnistria conflict — claims that Kremlin officials and mouthpieces have consistently repeated.

ISW continues to assess that the Kremlin will use the recent Transnistrian congress as a springboard to intensify hybrid operations aimed at destabilizing and further polarizing Moldova ahead of Moldova-EU accession negotiations and the Moldovan presidential election later in 2024.

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On March 5 the director of the Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service, Alexandru Musteata, confirmed that the Kremlin has begun to conduct multi-year hybrid operations aimed at destabilizing Moldova and preventing its accession to the European Union (EU).

Musteata stated that the Kremlin is conducting an “unprecedented level” of hybrid operations aimed at preventing Moldova from joining the EU and keeping Moldova in Russia’s sphere of influence.

He stated that the first stage of Russian hybrid operations began with attempts to compromise local elections in 2023 and that Russia intends to also interfere in Moldova’s upcoming presidential election in late 2024 and parliamentary elections in the summer of 2025.

Musteata stated that pro-Kremlin Moldovan politicians with ties to the Kremlin, either directly or through Russian and Moldovan organized crime groups, will try to promote pro-Russia policies in the Moldovan Parliament.

He warned that Russia plans to provoke protests and incite inter-ethnic conflict and economic and social crises in Moldova, including in the pro-Russian autonomous region of Gagauzia and the pro-Russian breakaway republic of Transnistria.

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Musteata stated that Moldovan authorities have already observed an increase in the use of social media platforms to spread anti-EU sentiment.

See the original reports here and also here.

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