The US Treasury Department on Monday announced sanctions against seven people linked to Russian intelligence and one legal entity involved in Moscow's efforts to destabilize the situation in Moldova.
The sanctioned Russians are part of a Russia-linked global information operation directed against Ukraine, its neighbors, including Moldova, the Balkans, the European Union, Great Britain and the United States.
"These individuals provoke, train and control groups in democratic countries that hold anti-government protests, rallies, marches and demonstrations," the US Treasury explains, noting that some of them are connected to Russian special services.
Seven Russians, against whom sanctions have been introduced, are involved in the organization of thousands of anti-government protests in Moldova, initiated by oligarch Ilan Shor, who was blacklisted by the United States in October 2022. They were involved in a plan to seize the Moldovan government building and stage a coup d'état in the country.
The operation was led by a Russian instructor related to Mykhailo Potepkin. He has been under U.S. sanctions since 2020 due to his ties to Wagner's PMC and involvement in plans to suppress democratic protests in Oman.
The organizer of the group that was supposed to inspire a coup d'état in Moldova was the Russian Kostiantyn Sapozhnikov.
Other participants had specific roles: Yurii Makolov - engaged in logistical support; Hleb Khloponin - collected data on the protection of government buildings; Svitlana Boyko – responsible for finances; Oleksiy Losev - carried out intelligence (his enterprise, which manufactures ceramic lanterns, was also included in the "black list"); Vasyl Gromovikov – helped with money; Hanna Travnikova - jointly with Boyko promoted pro-Russian narratives.
It will be recalled that on February 13, President Maia Sandu made public the details of the alleged Russian plan for a military coup, which included, according to her, an attack on state institutions and the taking of hostages.