EU countries agreed Monday to send a civilian mission to Moldova to help bolster its ability to cope with destabilization efforts from Russia.
Pro-European Moldova, which borders Ukraine, has repeatedly accused Moscow of plotting to topple its government through saboteurs disguised as anti-government protesters, claims Russia has denied.
“As one of the countries most affected by the fallout of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, we witness increased and continued Russian attempts to destabilize Moldova with hybrid actions,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
“The deployment of this new mission is yet another important political sign of the EU’s support in the current difficult circumstances.”
A European diplomat said the mission would consist of some 40 experts from EU countries and be deployed to Moldova by May.
The mission -- which has an initial mandate of two years -- will include cyber and crisis experts looking to help prepare Moldova to repel potential Russian interference.
Ex-Soviet Moldova applied to join the EU last year at the same time as Ukraine launched its own bid for membership.
The EU is also looking to impose sanctions on Moldovan oligarchs accused by the pro-Western authorities of helping Moscow to destabilize the country.