Russian claims that Ukraine is preparing an attack on the country's breakaway pro-Russian territory have been refuted by Moldova's pro-EU leaders, who also called for calm.
Without providing any proof, the Russian defense ministry claimed that Ukrainian saboteurs planned to invade Transnistria while disguising themselves as Russian soldiers to justify their own invasion.
Russia is attempting to seize power, as Moldova has been warning for several weeks.
Officials also denied Russia's claims that the war was being waged as "psy-ops.".
State Secretary Valeriu Mija stated that "the defence ministry believes it is an element of a psychological operation rather than a real plan.".
On a visit to neighboring Romania, President Maia Sandu of Moldova spoke of the unprecedented security challenges that lay ahead.
She claimed that "some" desired the demise of her nation and the installation in Chisinau of a puppet administration beholden to Kremlin objectives.
Despite not being a member of NATO, Moldova received EU candidate status on the same day as Ukraine in June. The leader of Moldova met with US President Joe Biden earlier this week, who assured her that he would uphold the sovereignty of her nation.
With only 2.6 million people, Moldova has one of the poorest economies in Europe and has been severely impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.
Because of its old Soviet-era power infrastructure, it has experienced a severe energy crisis. In addition to limiting its gas shipments, Russia attacked Ukraine's power grid, which had repercussions.
The populist and pro-Russian Sor party, led by fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor, has organized protests as a result of rampant inflation and a significant influx of refugees from Ukraine.
Additionally, there appears to have been an increase in what the new prime minister Dorin Recean refers to as "hybrid attacks.".
On the day that the previous administration disintegrated earlier this month, in the face of what his predecessor referred to as "multiple crises," a Russian missile was fired at Ukraine through Moldovan airspace.
President Sandu has accused Russia of arranging for foreign saboteurs from Russia, Serbia, Belarus, and Montenegro to help bring down the government of Moldova. She claimed that their goal would be to attack government structures, take hostages, and then incite uprisings to depose the current administration and install one "at the service of Russia.".
Twelve Serbian football fans were denied entry to Chisinau shortly after she finished speaking.
The Kremlin charged Moldova's leaders with descending into anti-Russian hysteria and cautioned them to use their words "very, very carefully.".
The internal socio-economic stability of Moldova is said to be a weak spot for pro-Russian forces, according to political analyst Denis Cenusa. He asserted that even if Russia didn't succeed immediately, it might in the local elections this year and the 2024 presidential election.
Between the Dniester River and the Ukrainian border, a small area of land known as Transnistria can be found on Moldova's eastern flank. It declared independence from Moldova in 1990 as the Soviet Union broke up, with Russian speakers predominating.
A brief border conflict resulted in a ceasefire in 1992, which has since been upheld by the 1,500 Russian troops stationed there.
There were concerns that as soon as Russian forces entered southern Ukraine a year ago, they would attempt to seize Odesa and the entire coast leading to Transnistria. .
Although it hasn't happened yet, what the leaders of Moldova are predicting right now is eerily similar to what transpired in April 2022.
There were several reported mysterious explosions that separatist authorities in Transnistria claimed were directed at their state security headquarters, aging Soviet radio masts, and a military unit.
Authorities in Transnistria then also blamed Ukrainian "infiltrators" for the incident. Ukraine accused Russia of using its special services to threaten Moldova and destabilize the situation.
A pro-separatist social media channel claimed earlier this week that it had spotted Ukrainian military equipment on the highway connecting Ukraine and Moldova, but an unconvincing image only showed a few small armored vehicles and a Ukrainian flag.
Oleg Belyakov, the head of Transnistria's peacekeeping organization, claimed that although there was no panic among the locals, Russia's warnings "give reasons for serious concerns."