Jim Mattis, the U.S. Defense Secretary, stated that there was no doubt that Moscow is funding pro-Russian groups to influence the referendum on renaming the country, which could lead to NATO and EU membership, as DW reports.
"They have transferred money and they're also conducting broader influence campaigns," Mattis said to reporters.
The voting is scheduled for September 30 – the Macedonians will decide on whether to change the country's name to the Republic of North Macedonia. In June, Macedonia made a deal with Greece, which has long called for the name change, as Macedonia is also the name of a Greek region.
"We do not want to see Russia doing there what they have tried to do in so many other countries," Mattis said.
Russia is accused of meddling not for the first time. Greece expelled two Russian diplomats and prohibited two other people from entering the country for allegedly attempting to bribe officials and incite protests against the deal.