Facebook Pixel

FSB agents in Moldova’s government and U.S. oversight of arms sent to Ukraine: a digest of Western mass media

Russia exported money to Moldova to stir up pro-Russian sentiments in the local politics, while an FSB agent served four years as the country’s president.

The U.S. developed a plan to monitor the delivery and use of weapons in Ukraine, the UN will collect data on cultural heritage ruined by Russia, and NATO Secretary-General warned Republicans that slashing support for Ukraine will only empower China.

The Page offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the October 24–28 business week.

Protests against Maia Sandu and Russian money: a clandestine connection

Maia Sandu: Russia funds protests against the president of Moldova. Photo: Getty Images

Maia Sandu: Russia funds protests against the president of Moldova. Photo: Getty Images

The Washington Post obtained documents and interviews from Ukrainian intelligence which prove that FSB has funneled tens of millions of dollars from some of Russia’s biggest state companies to reorient Moldova toward Moscow.

One example is Ilan Shor, head of the Shor party and the organizer of the rally calling for the resignation of pro-Western Moldovan president Maia Sandu. Soon after the September demonstration he received plaudits from Moscow..

Ilan Shor receives funding and support from Moscow. Photo: Getty Images

Ilan Shor receives funding and support from Moscow. Photo: Getty Images

Russian MP Leonid Slutsky not only politician praised the opposition leader as "a worthy long-term partner" but even offered the Moldovan region where Shor’s party won local election a cheap Russian gas deal (which is very similar to the situation with Ukraine and Viktor Yanukovych in 2013 — The Page).

Quote"The documents provide a rare glimpse inside the shadowy world of Russia’s influence operations in Moldova and the twin instruments of natural gas and illicit financing that the Kremlin wields here," the newspaper emphasizes.
Quote"The Russians are very good at exporting two things: one, energy, and the second, corruption," said a senior Moldovan security official.

Igor Dodon: an FSB agent as president of Moldova

Igor Dodon admitted to receiving money from Gazprom. Photo: Getty Images

Igor Dodon admitted to receiving money from Gazprom. Photo: Getty Images

Until recently, the documents show, the FSB’s primary vehicle in Moldova was the Socialist Party, headed by Igor Dodon, who served as Moldova’s pro-Moscow president between 2016 and 2020.

However, Dodon lost the latest presidential election after he had become mired in a series of corruption scandals. In one secretly recorded video leaked in 2019, Dodon admitted to receiving Kremlin funding — including from Gazprom.

In response to the defeat of their agent, the FSB drafted a plan dated November 21, 2020, to use the Socialists in conjunction with Shor’s party to maintain the Russian influence on the government of Moldova. Dodon’s party, however, was also routed in parliamentary elections in July 2021.

Then FSB strategists started nurturing Shor, who is referred to in the documents as a showman populist, but manipulable.

In March 2021, the Kremlin-hired political strategists came to Chisinau. They took great efforts to make sure their presence was undiscovered, buying prepaid SIM cards and keeping the addresses of the apartments they were renting hidden.

Moreover, management control of Moldova’s two main pro-Russian TV channels was transferred to a close Shor associate at the end of September.

The U.S. developed a plan to control the weapons they give Ukraine

The U.S. will help Ukraine prevent arms smuggling in a time of war. Photo: Wikipedia

The U.S. will help Ukraine prevent arms smuggling in a time of war. Photo: Wikipedia

Following concerns in Congress and accusations by Russia about weapons smuggling, the Biden administration released its blueprint on Thursday for ensuring that the $17 billion in arms it has so far sent to Ukraine were making it to the battlefield and not the black market, The New York Times reports.

Kyiv will be provided additional support to account for the weapons, including training for border guards and stricter monitoring of arms and ammunition.

The worry about weapons trafficking — whether to extremist groups, adversarial governments or Russia’s army — arose almost as soon as Western allies began providing military support to Ukraine.

Experts say it is nearly impossible to track all light weapons, including the portable shoulder-fired missiles known as Javelins. As for high-tech missiles and launchers, including HIMARS, American officials are confident that they reach the front lines.

Yet lawmakers in Congress, especially Republicans, have demanded stricter oversight..

Moreover, Europol said in July 2022 that the deluge of arms being sent to Ukraine "could lead to an increase in firearms and munitions trafficked into the E.U. via established smuggling routes or online platforms."

The new oversight plan provides for measures to be implemented over the next year and into 2024.

Russia damaged more than 200 cultural sites in Ukraine: the UN launches a tracking platform

UNESCO collects data on damaged cultural heritage in Ukraine. Photo: Wikipedia

UNESCO collects data on damaged cultural heritage in Ukraine. Photo: Wikipedia

Within weeks, the United Nations will publicly launch its satellite imagery tracking platform to systematically monitor the destruction of cultural heritage inflicted on Ukraine by Russia’s invasion, The Guardian writes.

The platform will be launched by UNESCO in cooperation with the UN satellite center Unosat. It will assess the impact on Ukraine’s architecture, art, historic buildings and other cultural heritage.

An initial list found damage to 207 cultural sites since the full-scale Russian invasion began. It includes:

  • 88 religious sites;
  • 15 museums;
  • 76 buildings of historical and/or artistic interest;
  • 18 monuments;
  • 10 libraries.

The worst-affected regions are in eastern Ukraine and around the capital. None of the seven world heritage sites in Ukraine have been damaged.

Weakening Ukraine in the war will empower China, says Stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg warned the U.S. about the danger of empowering China. Photo: Getty Images

Jens Stoltenberg warned the U.S. about the danger of empowering China. Photo: Getty Images

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has a message for U.S. Republicans making election promises to slash Ukraine’s support: That will only empower China, Politico writes.

Stoltenberg pushed his point in an expansive interview with POLITICO this week, in which the military alliance’s chief made the case for a long-term American presence in Europe and a widespread boost in defense spending.

NATO Secretary-General warned that Kyiv’s recent battlefield gains would not have been possible without NATO allies’ support. And he appealed to the more strident anti-China sentiment that runs through both major U.S. political parties.

According to him, a victorious Russia would be bad for both Europe and North America, in the whole of NATO, because that will send a message to authoritarian leaders that by the use of brutal military force they can achieve their goals.

Meanwhile, the collision of Russia’s long war in Ukraine, domestic U.S. political pressures and the growing focus on Beijing are reinvigorating a long-standing debate about European allies being too comfortable in their reliance on Washington while underperforming on their undertakings.

Quote"The reality is that 80 percent of NATO’s defense expenditures come from non-EU allies," said Stoltenberg.
Join us on social networks!
Thank 🎉