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US, Britain, Canada accuse Russia of plot to influence Moldova election

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Updates with quotes, background from paragraph 4 onwards

KYIV, June 13 (Reuters) -The United States, Britain and Canada accused Russia on Thursday of carrying out a plot to influence the outcome of the Moldovan presidential election in October in a joint statement published by the U.S. State Department.

The statement said Russia was seeking to exacerbate societal tensions and foment negative perceptions of the West and the incumbent team of Moldova's pro-Western President Maia Sandu, using disinformation and online propaganda.

"We are taking this step to warn our democratic partners and Allies that Russian actors are carrying out a plot to influence the outcomes of Moldova's fall 2024 presidential election," it said.

The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The three governments said that Russia is supporting candidates for the presidency and that unidentified pro-Russia actors are "actively using disinformation and propaganda online, on the air and on the streets to further their objectives."

These actors are fanning criticism of Sandu and her Party of Action and Solidarity "in order to incite protests," and are planning to spread "lies" about her character and "supposed electoral irregularities."

"If Russia's election meddling proves unsuccessful in Moldova, there is reason to believe Moscow will work to incite protests."

The three allies issued the statement a day after the United States imposed sanctions on Evgenia Gutul, the pro-Russia governor of Moldova's Gagauzia region.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth in Kyiv and Jonathan Landay in Washington; Editing by Toby Chopra and Chizu Nomiyama


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