Ukrainian lawmaker detained at Moldova’s border

CHISINAU (Reuters) – Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Yakovenko was detained at the Moldovan border at the request of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, Moldova’s border police said on Sunday.

Yakovenko was placed in a pretrial detention centre, a press service representative of the border police said.

Viorel Tentiu, the head of Interpol in Moldova, said in a statement that Yakovenko was put on the list following accusations from Belarus of bribery and corruption.

A search of public records for wanted persons on the Interpol website for Yakovenko’s name did not produce any results on Sunday night.

Ukraine and Belarus officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yakovenko was elected to the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, from the Donetsk region, according to information on the parliament’s website.

Fears have grown recently that Moldova could be drawn in to the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, after pro-Russian separatists in a breakaway region reported a number of attacks and explosions there, which they blamed on Kyiv.

Moldova, a country of around 2.6 million people wedged between Ukraine and Romania, has taken a decisive pro-Western political turn since President Maia Sandu took office at the end of 2020, defeating a Moscow-aligned incumbent.

The country has an ethnic Romanian majority but a large and influential Russian-speaking minority, and close economic ties to Moscow.

(Reporting by Alexander Tanas in Chisinau; Writing in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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