Moldovan and U.S. officials fear the Kremlin’s efforts to subvert Moldova, part of a campaign that dates back decades, could only intensify if it suffers further losses in Ukraine.

Moldova, which along with Ukraine was granted E.U. candidacy status in June, is particularly vulnerable to Russian pressure because of its near 100 percent dependence on Russian gas.

They are very embarrassed about the entire Ukraine operation, and they need a success somewhere,” Oleg Serebrian, Moldova’s deputy prime minister, said in an interview. “My personal fear is that Moldova is an easier target than Ukraine. So, for a kind of moral rearmament of Russian society, they could use different tools in Moldova. The first one is the economic one.”

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