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Moldova accuses Russian mercenary group Wagner of plotting coup

Moldovan President Maia Sandu announced on Friday that the Russian mercenary group Wagner had allegedly plotted a coup in Moldova. She described the situation as "really dramatic" and stressed the need for protection, though she did not provide details regarding when the coup attempt was planned.

Published October 06,2023
Russian mercenary group Wagner planned a coup in Moldova, the country's president said on Friday.

The plan was to bribe voters and turn anti-government protests violent, she said.

"The situation is really dramatic and we have to protect ourselves," Moldovan President Maia Sandu said in an interview with the Financial Times, without elaborating on when the putsch attempt was planned.

She said money had been smuggled from Russia into the ex-Soviet republic, which lies between Ukraine and Romania, partly with couriers and partly via bank accounts in Dubai.

There had been warnings in Moldova of an imminent coup at the beginning of the year. In March, the government in Chișinău also reported the arrest of a Wagner mercenary.

The Wagner group had long fought alongside regular Russian troops in the Ukraine war.

But its former leader Yevgeny Prigozhin later sharply criticized Russia's military leadership and in June launched a mutinous march towards Moscow, but called it off the same day. Two months later, Prigozhin's plane crashed over Russian soil in unclear circumstances.