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Moldovan government, opposition give different reasons for banning Russian journalists out

The opposition is blaming the security services of various countries, including Ukraine and the United States

CHISINAU, January 21 /TASS/. The Moldovan government and opposition have different explanations as for the reasons why Russian journalists were banned entrance to Moldova on Thursday morning. The republic’s border service insists the matter was purely technical. The opposition is blaming the security services of various countries, including Ukraine and the United States.

"Five Russians who allegedly violated the rules of crossing the Moldovan state border were stopped at Chisinau airport this morning and sent back to Russia," Dorina Chebotar, a spokesperson for Moldova’s border police, told TASS. "In the first case, a citizen had already been banned entrance to the republic for a term of five years. The four other Russians did not specify the trip’s purpose upon their arrival in Moldova," the spokesperson said.

"Moldova is not the only country to expel foreigners who do not specify the purpose of their trips. This practice is applied everywhere," Chebotar said. She refused to give the names of the Russians who had been turned away on Thursday morning. However, previous media reports said that five Russian journalists had been denied entry to Moldova over the past 24 hours. They included Alexander Balitsky, a correspondent of the All-Russia TV and Radio Broadcasting Corporation (VGTRK); as well as the film crews of the LifeNews and Ren-TV channels who were on their way to cover the current opposition protests in Chisinau.

It is not the first incident involving Russian journalists in Moldova. Several Russian TV crews who were on their way to the Gagauz Autonomy and the unrecognized Republic of Transdniestria used to be deported from Chisinau airport.

The rioting Moldovan opposition has its own versions and explanations. The Our Party leader Renato Usatii told journalists on Thursday that the authorities were using all possible ways to block the news about the situation in the country.

"Many television channels have stopped broadcasts. News about Moldova are excluded from news programs. Trustworthy sources tipped by their curators in the United States told me that the local security services were barring journalists from entering the country. The United States has asked Ukraine to hand over a list of Russian correspondents who used to cover the events in Moldova to Chisinau. Now, they are deported immediately upon arrival at the Chisinau airport. It is a gross violation of the freedom of speech, which is a source of great concern for the Americans," Usatii stressed.

The Moldovan opposition will build up peaceful pressure on the corrupt and oligarchic regime, which the United States and the European Union are imposing on the country, Igor Dodon, the leader of the Party of Socialists of Moldova who had taken thousands of his supporters to the streets, said in a TASS interview on January 20.

"The corrupt oligarchic regime has seized the power in Moldova with the help of the United States and the European Union that brought to power and support the ruling pro-European coalition turning a blind eye to endemic corruption. Now, they are afraid of early elections, which, as opinion polls show, are going to bring pro-Russian parties to power," Dodon said. His party has the biggest parliamentary faction, which controls a quarter of seats in parliament and stands for the Eurasian vector of Moldova’s development.

According to him, Victoria Nuland, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, voice support for the ruling coalition in Chisinau during a visit to Bucharest on January 18.

"After that, the parliament approved the new government in no time despite protests by the Socialists. They did not even discuss its program or structure. It is lawless. We will not allow corrupt officials to stay in power. We are going to take tens of thousands of people to the streets tomorrow to demand the government’s resignation," the politician said. He stressed that the Socialists had called on their supporters to be peaceful and not to clash with police.