A confidential document containing Russia's plan to destabilize Moldova and prevent it from joining the transatlantic alliance was leaked to the public.
The secret plan was created by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), according to the document seen by CNN and first obtained by a consortium of media, including VSquare and Frontstory, Rise Moldova, Expressen in Sweden, the Dossier Centre for Investigative Journalism and other outlets.
Written by the FSB's Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation in 2021 and titled "Strategic objectives of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova," the document laid out a 10-year strategy to influence the former Soviet republic's state of affairs, CNN reported.
According to the leaked document, Russia's immediate objectives for Moldova, which sits between Ukraine and Romania, include supporting politicians "advocating constructive relations with the Russian Federation" and "neutralization" of the country's attempts to purge Russian soldiers out of the breakaway region of Transnistria.
The document reportedly indicated that Russia aims to oppose Romania's "expansionist policy" in Moldova and block any attempts by Moldova to cooperate with NATO.
The secret plan allegedly went on to state that Russia's long-term goals in Moldova are establishing "stable pro-Russian groups of influence in the Moldovan political and economic elites" and stirring negative views toward NATO.
Russia also wanted to make the country heavily dependent on imports of Russian gas to control Moldova's energy sector and economy, according to the document.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov quickly denied the existence of such a document from the FSB.
"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 told CNN when asked about the document Thursday.
"We are very sorry that the current leadership of Moldova is experiencing completely unjustified and unfounded prejudices against Moscow," he added.
On Sunday, Moldovan police chief Viorel Cernauteanu announced the arrest of individuals suspected of being involved in a pro-Russian subversion operation.
Cernauteanu said the arrested individuals "came from Russia with a very specific training role."
Moldova's police chief added that they launched the police operation against pro-Russian individuals after they had been tipped that an organization linked with Russian special services would try to destabilize the country through demonstrations.
Anatolie Nosatii, the Moldovan defense minister, expressed his concern about the increasing pressure campaign by Russia, saying that his country is facing a "hybrid warfare" designed to overthrow the pro-European government.
Nosatii accused Russia of seeding disinformation and tensions inside Moldova to destabilize the country's political order.
The U.S. vowed to help the Eastern European country thwart any Russian attempts to undermine Moldova's sovereignty.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the Biden administration would share information and provide other assistance to Moldova to expose Russia's destabilization efforts.