Navalny’s top aide warns that attacking Moldova and Georgia next is “not off the table” 2022-04-28 17:15:30


  • One of Navalny’s top aides said Russian attacks on Moldova and Georgia were “not on the table”.
  • “If he can do it most likely,” Vladimir Ashurkov said of Putin and his ability to expand the Ukraine war.
  • Mysterious explosions in a breakaway region of Moldova have raised fears that Russia may attack there next time.

There are growing concerns across the West that Russian President Vladimir Putin may extend his unjustified war in Ukraine to other countries such as Moldova and Georgia.

Vladimir Ashurkov, a top aide to imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, told Insider that such scenarios are “not on the table.”

“This massive invasion of Ukraine came as a shock to me. I did not think it would be possible, but it happened two months ago. Thinking about whether Putin was able to push the attacks on Transnistria, Moldova, etc. – warned Ashurkov, Executive Director of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation , if he could. “It’s not off the table for things like this to happen.”

The warning came in the wake of mysterious and unexplained explosions this week in Transnistria, a Moscow-backed breakaway region where about 1,500 Russian soldiers are stationed. Transnistria, which the international community considers part of Moldova, shares a 250-mile border with Ukraine.

Major General Rustam Minkayev, a senior Russian commander, last Friday She said The capture of southern Ukraine would link Russia with Transnistria. This suggests that Putin may have the separatist region in mind in his war plans, and it has sparked concern across the region. Ukraine said on Thursday that it is Move more troops On the border with Moldova. Meanwhile, Nico Popescu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, on Thursday told reporters that his country is facing “A very dangerous new moment.

Moldova, like Ukraine, is a former Soviet republic and is not part of NATO.

Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe in NATO, Wesley Clark said: “I think it has always been Mr. Putin’s intention to take over Moldova, Georgia and the Baltic states. He is certainly capable of horizontal escalation … if he thinks he can deter the West. ” And He told CNN earlier this week.

Similarly, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland in Tweet On Monday, he said that while Ukraine is Russia’s current target, its defeat at the hands of Russian forces means that “Moldova, Georgia and other countries, including NATO allies, are at risk of a Russian invasion.”

Neither Moldova nor Georgia are strangers to Russian aggression. In 1992 Russian forces intervened in a war in Moldova on behalf of pro-Russian rebels, and have occupied Transnistria ever since. Georgia was invaded by Russia during a short but formative war in 2008. Russian forces continue to occupy nearly 20% of Georgia’s territory – the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The governments of Georgia and Moldova have been pressing for more support from the West since Russia invaded Ukraine, and both of them formally applied for EU membership last month. Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili visited Washington on Thursday for this purpose. Twitter She spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “about Ukraine, unprovoked Russian aggression, and the importance of continued US support for Georgia in these critical times.”

Zurabishvili also spoke by phone with Moldovan President Maya Sandu on Thursday. After their conversation, Sandu tweeted that she thanked the Georgian president for her “country’s solidarity with Moldova in these difficult times for the entire region.”

The Moldovan leader said earlier in the week that the explosions in Transnistria were perpetrated “Pro-War Factions”.

“We condemn any challenges and attempts to tempt the Republic of Moldova with actions that may endanger peace in the country,” Sandu said.

“We’re dealing with a desperate rogue worker.”

Vladimir Putin standing alone

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in a hall before a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 11, 2022.

Mikhail Klementiev/Getty Images

Despite growing concerns in Moldova and Georgia, it is also debated whether Russia can pull out of pushing the conflict beyond Ukraine. The war has been disastrous for the Russian military thus far, while leaving Moscow economically and politically isolated. Russian forces are also concentrating their efforts in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region for the time being.

“It is a question of the situation on the battlefield. It is a question of the economic damage that sanctions do to Russia. It is a question of the flow of weapons that Western countries provide to Ukraine,” Ashurkov said.

Ashurkov lives in exile in London, but continues to focus on exposing corruption in Russia – particularly when it comes to the activities of those in Putin’s inner circle. He is well aware of how ruthless Putin is, as someone who works closely with the Russian leader’s most prominent critics.

Before he was thrown behind bars last year on charges widely decried as politically motivated, Navalny was poisoned in August 2020 with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok and nearly died. Leaders around the world condemned Putin for the poisoning. The Russian leader has denied any involvement, despite the stark similarities to previous Moscow-linked operations targeting Putin’s critics.

In the time since his poisoning and imprisonment, Navalny’s political network has been described as “extremist” and banned in Russia, forcing his foundation to relocate staff and set up a new office in Lithuania. Last month, Navalny added nine years to his sentence by a judge that Putin promoted to a higher court just days ago.

As evidenced by the brutal war in Ukraine, Putin’s aggression and cold-blooded style of leadership extended far beyond Russia’s borders.

“I don’t think anyone on the planet has a secure future when there’s a lunatic with a nuclear bomb hitting him around,” Ashurkov said of Putin. “The situation is very dire for everyone.”

“Over the years, Russia has shown more and more assertiveness in foreign policy. The war in Georgia was kind of a first example, but then we saw the annexation of Crimea, the intervention in eastern Ukraine. We saw a number of cyberattacks, including interference in US elections. We’ve seen a number of assassinations in different countries. We’ve seen Russia take the position of a brutal dictatorship in Syria, Ashurkov said, adding, “This was met with an inconclusive response from the West. the countries. More could have been done.”

Perhaps in order to avoid mistakes of the past, Western governments in recent days have begun to stress the need to prepare Moldova and Georgia, among other countries, for possible Russian attacks.

“This is a time for courage, not caution,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. She said In a speech on Wednesday. We must ensure, along with Ukraine, that the Western Balkan states and countries such as Moldova and Georgia have the flexibility and capacity necessary to maintain their sovereignty and freedom.

“We’re dealing with a desperate rogue worker who doesn’t care about international standards,” Truss said of Putin.