First time that Moldova is now mentioning that Wagner has been trying to infiltrate the country.
Moldova: pro-Russia protesters gather amid fears of orchestrated violence
Demonstration fuelled by six-fold rise in bills after Russia reduces gas supplies to country with ambitions to join EU
Thousands of people have gathered in the Moldovan capital Chișinău at a protest organised by a pro-Russia party, with demonstrators criticising the pro-European government for a steep rise in the cost of living.
As Russia reduced gas supplies to Moldova over the past year, bills have risen up to six times in the country of 2.6 million. The energy crisis and the war in neighbouring Ukraine have also contributed to inflation hitting 30%.
With western economic help, the government has subsidised energy bills but many are still struggling.
protester, Ivan Vasile, 85 years old, said his pension was the equivalent of £100 a month. “Can I afford to buy myself cheese? I cannot,” Vasile said. “I only eat a little more than bread. Before, electricity and gas were cheaper. Democracy is for the rich.”
Months of rallies, organised by the party of the fugitive pro-Russian oligarch Ilan Shor, have been condemned by the government as a Kremlin-sponsored campaign to destabilise the country
A few steps away from the anti-government protest, a dozen counter-protesters shouted, “Shor, go to prison” on a megaphone.
Sandu said last month that Russia planned to provide foreign citizens with military training, who would then act as protesters in order to break into state institutions and take hostages. On Friday, the US National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communication, John Kirby, warned of further Russian efforts to destabilise Moldova.
Before Sunday’s protest, the head of the Moldovan police, Viorel Cernăuțeanu, said at a press conference that the FSB, Russia’s secret services, planned to use 10 groups of five to 10 Russian and Moldovan men with criminal records or sports training to break police cordons and spark violence. But a Moldovan undercover agent helped reveal the plans, Cernăuțeanu added. Dozens were detained, including seven leaders of the operation.
An alleged member of the Russian paramilitary Wagner group was refused entry into Moldova, according to the border police. He is one of 182 foreign citizens denied access to the country over the past week. Last month, two foreign citizens were expelled for spying, according to Moldova’s intelligence services.
“I would draw attention to the potential connection between the groups uncovered by the police and the Wagner group,” said analyst Valeriu Pașa from the Moldovan thinktank WatchDog. “Russia’s aim is to provoke chaos and discontent. In this way, it would be easier to overthrow Moldova’s current government. Shor’s intention is to keep the authorities busy so that the reform of the judiciary does not succeed and he does not get a final sentence