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Moldovan Authorities Accuse Russians Of Spying

20 February 2005 -- Moldova's secret service said today that Moldovan police have detained or expelled 21 Russians in the month of February, suggesting that Russian nationals were being dispatched to spy on senior politicians ahead of Moldovan elections.

A statement from the Intelligence and Security Service accuses Russians of traveling to spy on the president and other politicians ahead of general elections, which are slated for 6 March.

It also charges that the Russians had been falsely posing as human rights activists, electoral consultants, and political observers.

The Russian Foreign Ministry attacked the expulsions last week, saying that the move contradicted Moldova's pledges of a "democratic and transparent" election process and showed "clear prejudice in relation to Russian representatives."