Police in Moldova investigate string of bomb threats

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Police in Moldova’s capital Chisinau were investigating a string of bomb threats Monday at locations including at the country’s supreme court and its international airport, authorities said.

Police said that the nine bomb threats also targeted shopping centers, hospitals and medical facilities.

Monday’s threats follow more than 40 similar incidents that plagued the small non-European Union nation in July, more than half of them targeting Chisinau airport and causing severe service disruptions.

None of the scores of recent threats in Moldova, which shares a border with war-torn Ukraine, have turned out to be true. No explosives have been discovered and no one has yet been charged. Airport security, however, has been bolstered.

Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said in a recent interview with Radio Moldova that some of the threats had been traced to I.P. addresses in Russia and Belarus but that they could have been manipulated. She added that requests were made to those countries to investigate.

“It is very clear that these alerts are meant to slow our vigilance, keep us busy, (and) test our reaction,” she added.

In April, tensions in Moldova soared after a series of explosions in Transnistria — a Russia-backed separatist region of Moldova where Russia bases about 1,500 troops — raised fears that it could get dragged into Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Transnistria has a population of about 470,000 and has been under the control of separatist authorities since a civil war in 1992.

Moldova, although constitutionally neutral and thus not a potential NATO member, was granted European Union candidate status in late June. But full membership to the 27-nation bloc will be a long road contingent on a series of reforms such as tackling corruption, organized crime, strengthening human rights and the rule of law.

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McGrath contributed from Sighisoara, Romania.

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