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A Moldovan child takes a peek inside a booth for the European Parliament elections at a polling station, designated for Moldovan dual nationalities holding an EU country's passport, in Chisinau on June 9, 2024. (Elena Covalenco/AFP via Getty Images)
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The U.S., U.K., and Canada issued a joint statement on June 13, warning of Russian interference in the leadup to the Moldovan presidential election in October.

Moldova will hold both an election, in which pro-European president Maia Sandu will seek a second term, and a referendum on Moldova's accession to the EU on Oct. 20.

Moldovan officials have repeatedly accused Russia of election interference and destabilization attempts, even of allegedly fomenting an attempted coup, since February 2022.

"We share President Sandu's strong concerns about the Kremlin's use of criminal groups to finance political activities and undermine Moldova's democratic institutions," the joint statement said.

"We commend Moldova's leaders for continuing to capably manage these threats, build resilience, and maintain peace and security, while driving forward democratic reforms and reviving the country’s economy."

The countries condemned Russia for "exacerbating societal tensions" in Moldova and using "disinformation and propaganda" to further its objectives.

"If Russia's election meddling proves unsuccessful in Moldova, there is reason to believe Moscow will work to incite protests," the statement said.

The U.S., U.K., and Canada issued the statement to warn allies "that Russian actors are carrying out a plot to influence" the results of the election, and to show the Kremlin that "its attempts to meddle and undermine democratic processes" will not be tolerated.

Tensions between Moscow and Chisinau have been mounting since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine amid fears that the war may spill into Moldova via Transnistria, an unrecognized breakaway territory that has illegally hosted Russian troops since 1991.

The joint statement follows reports earlier in June that the former chief of the General Staff of Moldova's army had allegedly been an informant for Russia's military intelligence agency.

Days later, Moldovan President Maia Sandu approved changes to the country's treason laws, allowing some wartime treason laws to apply to peacetime, as well as extending punishments and creating a new category of laws for assisting a foreign state.

US sanctions pro-Russian Moldovan governor
The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Evghenia Gutul, the governor of Moldova’s Gagauzia region, for her ties to pro-Russian oligarch and politician Ilan Shor, the U.S. Treasury announced on June 12.

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