The intelligence chief in a separatist enclave in Moldova said in comments published Friday that Western countries were preparing a revolution in the province from nearby Romania and Poland.
The breakaway province of Trans-Dniester is a mostly Russian-speaking territory occupying a sliver of land in eastern Moldova. Tensions have worsened since negotiations with Moldova's government broke down last year.
The enclave's top intelligence official, Vladimir Antifeev, told the official Olvia Press agency that "recently, there has been a stronger and stronger development of so-called non-governmental organizations" in Trans-Dniester that are supported by George Soros, the U.S. financier who has funded organizations to promote civil society and democratic values in the ex-Soviet Union.
"These organizations will be used for a velvet revolution," Antifeev said. He said that intelligence agents from Western countries were using Poland and Romania to carry out the plans. He didn't elaborate.
Antifeev noted that neighboring Romania has developed closer ties with Moldova since reformist President Traian Basescu came to power in Romania in December.
"The expansionist plans of Bucharest toward Moldova ... and Trans-Dniester are reborn," he said. The Moldovan government had no reaction to Antifeev's accusations.
Trans-Dniester broke away from Moldova in the early 1990s over fears the country wanted to reunite with Romania. Moldova was part of Romania until 1940, but Trans-Dniester was not.
The two sides fought a war in 1992 that left 1,500 people dead.
The Kremlin has taken two strong steps in a war of nerves that has caused quite a stir in the NATO-Ukraine alliance