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The USA sanctions seven Russians/ They tried to destabilize the Balkans

2023-06-05 20:43:26, Kosova & Bota CNA

The USA sanctions seven Russians/ They tried to destabilize the Balkans

The United States of America has sanctioned seven key members of a Russian group linked to intelligence services for their attempts to destabilize the Balkans, Moldova, Ukraine, the EU, Great Britain and the United States.

According to the statement released by the US Treasury Department on June 5, they played an important role in the Russian campaign to destabilize Moldova and foment an insurgency there.

"They analyze countries vulnerable to influence and feed fear that undermines faith in democratic principles in the targeted countries," the statement said.

The seven sanctioned are accused of provoking, training and supervising protesters in Moldova with the aim of ousting President Maia Sandu and the new Western-leaning government earlier this year.

The US Treasury Department said Konstantin Sapozhnikov, one of the sanctioned individuals, led the group and also orchestrated the plot to destabilize the Moldovan government. Other sanctioned persons are Yury Makolov, Gleb Khloponin, Svetlana Boyko, Aleksei Losev, Vasily Gromovikov and Anna Travnikova.

In February and March, several thousand people took to the streets in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, against President Sandu and Moldova's pro-Western government. Protesters called for Sandu's resignation and demanded the government pay citizens' bills after rising energy prices caused by Russia's decision to cut natural gas exports to Europe.

"Russia's attempts exploit the concerns of the citizens of these countries to destabilize legitimately elected governments for Moscow's own interests. The United States remains committed, along with the EU, to targeting individuals who engage in such activities against the government of Moldova," Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.

Many people in the crowd were identified as affiliated with the Russia-aligned Shor Party. Ilan Shor, the tycoon who founded the Shor Party, left Moldova after the election of Sandu in 2019.

Sandu and the government want Moldova, a poor former Soviet state, to join the European Union and escape Moscow's influence. The Kremlin opposes Moldova's tilt toward the West and has used its energy resources as a tool to punish it.

However, Russia has denied any involvement in any secret plot to destabilize Moldova./ REL

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