Authorities in the self-proclaimed pro-Russian Transnistrian Republic in eastern Moldova said they foiled a terrorist attack allegedly planned by Ukrainian security services and targeting separatist government officials.
The suspects were detained, but they are said to have already confessed to everything.
Transnistrian prosecutor Anatoly Gurecki he said the perpetrators wanted “remove top government officials” and that they planned to carry out the alleged terrorist attack in Tiraspol, which is the center of a pro-Russian enclave.
“They planned that the attack would require a lot of casualties, as it was supposed to take place in the center of the capital,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state TV Prvi Pridnestrovian reported that the suspects planned to blow up a car loaded with eight kilograms of explosives in the city center.
It also aired footage of the alleged suspect, a 40-year-old man, who, according to the channel, received the order for the attack from the Ukrainian security services, the French news agency AFP reports.
The separatist Moldovan region of Transnistria, bordering Ukraine and home to many Russians, broke away from Moldova in 1992 after a brief war. Since then, Russia has had soldiers stationed there, acting as so-called peacekeepers.
Moldova, which is not a member of the NATO alliance, is also generally politically divided between pro-European and pro-Russian forces.
During the war in neighboring Ukraine, relations between Russia and Moldova, which has been a candidate for EU membership since last June, are very tense. There are also fears that the country could be the second target of a Russian attack after Ukraine.
Kremlin accuses Chisinau of anti-Russian policies, Moldovan president Maia Sandu and accuses Russia of planning a coup d’état in Moldova.