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Moldovan police trying to locate former Transnistrian leader Yevgeny Shevchuk

Shevchuk is facing criminal charges in his republic and fled to Chisinau out of fear of life attempts, as he put it

CHISINAU, July 4. /TASS/. Moldovan police are trying to locate former President of the unrecognized republic of Transnistria, Yevgeny Shevchuk, who is facing criminal charges in his republic and fled to Chisinau out of fear of life attempts, as he put it, Moldovan Interior Minister Alexandru Jizdan said on Tuesday.

According to the minister, Moldovan police are doing it on their own initiative after publications in the press and social networks. He also said a criminal case had been opened over the assassination attempt. "We want to hear Yevgeny Shevcuk. Investigation will show whether he should be granted a status of a person enjoying protection or not," he said, adding that so far "no requests on that case have been received."

Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Affairs Gheorghe Balan said pledged earlier the Moldovan authorities would not extradite Shevchuk, since Moldova and Transnistria have no agreement on extradition.

A total of five criminal cases have been opened against the former President Vadim Shevchuk, who stood at the head of the region from 2011 through to 2016 and who now faces twelve years in jail. The regional legislature has stripped him of immunity in order to make him accountable.

Shevchuk, who does not recognize any guilt on his part, has fled to Moldova, saying he wanted to avoid an assassination attempt. He described the decision of the Transnistrian authorities to institute criminal cases against him and to strip him of immunity as ‘a contract provocation.’

According to the Moldovan mass media, the former Transnistrian leader and his wife, Nina Shevchuk, who was Transnistria’s foreign minister under her husband’s administration, are now living in Chisinau, in an apartment they bought earlier.

Obnovleniye (Renewal) Party, which stood in opposition to Shevchuk, has the majority of seats in the Transdniestrian legislature at the moment. After Vadim Krasnoselsky’s victory in a presidential election, criminal cases were initiated against a number of members of Shevchuk’s team, including the former chief of the State Security Committee, Nikolai Zemtsov, the chairman of the Customs Committee, Yuri Gervazyuk, and the President of the Dniester Republican Bank, Eduard Kosovsky.