Moldova: 4 Mercenaries Arrested Near Capital

Published: 07 July 2014


Four armed mercenaries from Moldova were arrested Sunday in a police operation near Chisinau, the nation’s capital. Police said they were preparing to fight in Ukraine on behalf of pro-Russian rebels.

Moldovan police launched the operation a day after OCCRP and Rise Project documented a network of organized criminals purportedly trafficking Russian arms from Transnistria into the conflict zones in Ukraine.

The four men were arrested in connection with an armed robbery committed last month that resulted in one death. Police searched the group leader’s home and discovered a large cache of Russian arms.

The cache included pistols, TNT, Kalashnikov magazines, bulletproof vests, thousands of cartridges and other military-grade weapons. Police said that all of the weapons originated in Transnistria.

Cornel Bratunov, General Prosecutor for Chisinau, said the suspects “have military experience. There’s information that they were planning to take part in the Ukrainian armed conflict on July 1 on the side of the pro-Russian rebels. The leader of this group has already taken part in some of these conflicts in the Caucasus and Ukraine.”

A Romanian-language video of the raid can be viewed here.