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U.S. Sanctions Russian Intelligence-Linked Actors Targeting Moldova

(FILE) Law enforcement officers stand guard during an opposition rally in Chisinau, Moldova.
(FILE) Law enforcement officers stand guard during an opposition rally in Chisinau, Moldova.

Russia attempted to capitalize on the protests in Moldova order to weaken support for democratic governance and spread instability throughout the country.

U.S. Sanctions Russian Intelligence-Linked Actors Targeting Moldova
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The United States has taken additional action to combat Russia’s malign influence in Moldova.

Throughout February and March 2023, thousands of demonstrators participated in anti-government protests in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau and other major cities.

The United States has designated seven leading members of a Russian intelligence-linked group and one entity for their role in destabilizing operations in Moldova and other countries to weaken support for democratic governance.

“The individuals that were designated today were part of a plot to capitalize on protests in Chisinau that were designed to seize the Moldovan Government House and conduct an opposition meeting,” National Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters. “These actors provoked, trained, and oversaw groups in democratic countries that conduct anti-government protests, rallies, marches, [and] demonstrations.”

In a statement, the Treasury Department said that the February and March protests in Moldova were organized by the fugitive oligarch Ilan Shore, whom the United States had previously designated for having been responsible for, or complicit in interference in a United States or other foreign government election on behalf of the Russian government. As the White House noted in a March 10, 2023 statement, capitalizing on the Moldovan protests was an effort to foment a manufactured insurrection against the Moldovan government.

The designated individuals are part of a large global information operation connected to the Russian Federation that targets Ukraine, countries bordering Ukraine, including Moldova, Balkan countries, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The designated individuals - Konstantin Prokopyevich Sapozhnikov, Yury Yuryevich Makolov, Gleb Maksimovich Khloponin, Svetlana Andreyevna Boyko, Aleksey Vyacheslavovich Losev, Vasily Viktorovich Gromovikov, and Anna Travnikova - are all members of this Russia-connected malign influence group.

Aleksey Losev’s workshop Perko Julleuchter was also designated.

The U.S. action comes after the European Council and Canada sanctioned several individuals for engaging in destabilizing activities against the Moldovan government.

The sanctions “shine a light on Russia’s ongoing covert efforts to destabilize democratic nations,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “The United States remains committed, along with the EU, to target individuals who engage in such activities against the government of Moldova.”