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A secret plan drawn up by Russia’s security service, the FSB, lays out detailed options to destabilize Moldova — including supporting pro-Russian groups, utilizing the Orthodox Church and threatening to cut off supplies of natural gas.

The document appears to have been drawn up to thwart Moldova’s tilt to the West, which includes closer relations with NATO and an application to join the European Union. It repeatedly refers to the importance of preventing Moldova from joining NATO.

It was obtained and first disclosed by a consortium of media, including VSquare and Frontstory, RISE Moldova, Expressen in Sweden, the Dossier Centre for Investigative Journalism and other outlets.

CNN has seen the full document, which appears to have been written in 2021 by the FSB’s Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation. Its title is “Strategic objectives of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova.”

The document sets out a 10-year strategy for bringing Moldova, a former Soviet republic sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, within Russia’s sphere of influence.

The plan includes making Moldova dependent on imports of Russian gas and stirring up social conflict, as well as trying to block Moldova’s efforts to gain influence in the pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria, where some 1,500 Russian soldiers are stationed.

Ukraine border: Russia has accused Ukraine of planning to invade and take over Transnistria, which borders southwestern Ukraine. The Russian defense ministry said last month that the Ukrainians were gathering armor in several border villages. Moldova and Ukraine have both dismissed the claim.

Russia’s response: Asked about the document Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “We know nothing of the existence of such a plan. I do not rule out that this is another fake. Russia has always been and remains open to building good-neighborly, mutually beneficial relations, including with Moldova.”

Peskov added: “We are very sorry that the current leadership of Moldova is experiencing completely unjustified and unfounded prejudices against Moscow.”

Read the full story here.

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