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Russia Says Will Monitor Moldova Ex-Leader's Case

Igor Dodon and Vladimir Putin. kremlin.ru

Moscow warned Wednesday it would "closely" monitor the treatment of a pro-Russian ex-president in Moldova who had been detained on suspicion of treason and corruption.

On Tuesday, prosecutors in the Western-backed country announced the arrest of former president Igor Dodon, as the conflict in neighboring Ukraine has heightened tensions between Moscow and Chisinau.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said that Dodon's detention was Moldova's "internal affair."

"At the same time, we would not like the current authorities to start settling scores with their former political rivals in the current situation," Rudenko told reporters in comments carried by Russian news agencies.

He said Russia would "closely monitor" the case to make sure that "all of Dodon's rights" are respected and that they comply with international standards.

Dodon led Moldova between 2016 and 2020 and was openly backed by Moscow.

He is being investigated over four separate offenses: state treason, receiving political funds from a criminal organization, illegal enrichment, and "passive corruption."

Moldova is largely Romanian-speaking but has a significant Russian-speaking minority and a Moscow-backed separatist region, Transnistria.

After becoming mired in scandals linked to corruption in the impoverished country, Dodon lost the presidency to Maia Sandu in 2020. Her pro-European party went on to win a resounding victory in parliamentary elections in 2021.

Chisinau has firmly backed Kyiv after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

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