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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moldova Accuses Russians of Spying

CHISINAU, Moldova -- Moldova's secret service said Sunday that 21 Russians expelled or detained by police this month had traveled to Moldova to spy on the president and other politicians ahead of March 6 general elections.

The Russians had been falsely posing as human rights activists, consultants and political observers, said a statement from the Intelligence and Security Service.

Five Russians were expelled on Feb. 11 for meddling in the electoral process. On Friday, 20 foreigners, including 16 Russians, were detained on suspicion of illegally working for a Moldovan political party, the authorities said.

The statement accused them of "fabricating documents to show that Moldovan authorities were preparing to persecute the opposition, carrying out surveillance of Communist candidates ... creating networks specialized in corrupting and bribing" electoral officials.

"This cannot be considered political consultancy," it said.

The statement did not specify that the Russians had been sent by any organization.