US Imposed Sanctions on Russians Involved in Attempted Coup in Moldova

Monday, 5 June 2023

The United States Department of the Treasury announced sanctions on Monday against seven individuals and one entity linked to Russian intelligence, who were involved in Moscow's efforts to destabilise the situation in Moldova.

The sanctioned individuals are part of a Russia-linked global information operation targeting Ukraine, and its neighbours including Moldova, Balkan countries, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

"These individuals are responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, activities that undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the government of the Russian Federation," explained the US Treasury Department.

The seven Russians targeted by the sanctions were involved in organising thousands of anti-government protests in Moldova initiated by fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor, whom the US blacklisted in October 2022. They were involved in a plan to seize the Moldovan government building and orchestrate a state coup in the country.

The operation was led by a Russian instructor associated with Mikhail Popkin, who has been sanctioned by the US since 2020 for his ties to the Wagner Group and involvement in plans to suppress democratic protests in Oman.

The organiser of the group intended to inspire a coup in Moldova was Russian national Konstantin Sapozhnikov.

The other participants had specific roles: Yuri Makolov was responsible for logistical support, Gleb Khloponin collected data on the security of government buildings, Svetlana Boyko handled finances, Alexey Losev conducted intelligence (his ceramic lantern manufacturing company was also added to the blacklist), Vasily Gromovikov provided financial assistance, and Anna Travnikova, along with Boyko, promoted pro-Russian narratives.

On February 13, President Maia Sandu revealed details of a possible Russian plan for a military coup, which, according to her, included attacks on state institutions and hostage-taking.

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