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Moldova's ex-chief of General Staff leaked intelligence to Russia, The Insider reports

by Martin Fornusek June 5, 2024 3:50 PM 2 min read
Igor Gorgan, the former chief of the General Staff of Moldova's army. (Moldovan Defense Ministry)
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Igor Gorgan, the former chief of the General Staff of Moldova's army, is an informant of the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU), The Insider wrote in a joint investigation with the Moldovan publication Malenkaya Strana published on June 5.

The general, who lost his post in 2021 after pro-Western President Maia Sandu took office, continues to use his contacts in the Defense Ministry and has passed sensitive information on Moldova and Ukraine to Russia, the investigation said, citing accessed Telegram correspondence.

Gorgan was allegedly providing the GRU with intelligence on Kyiv's efforts to secure arms abroad and on the internal political situation in Moldova.

Chisinau has been supportive of Ukraine throughout the full-scale war and cracked down on Russian subversive operations at home, expelling dozens of diplomats and embassy staff in July 2023 after revelations of espionage activities.

According to the investigation, Gorgan provided his GRU handler, Colonel Alexei Makarov, with information on Ukrainian officials' visits seeking to purchase arms and ammunition. The general also allegedly passed intelligence on the military aid routes from Romania to Ukraine and on the political situation in his home country.

Gorgan, 54, started his career in the Soviet military. After the collapse of the USSR, he studied the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and participated in NATO missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Iraq.

The officer served as the chief of the General Staff between 2013 and 2016 and was reappointed to the position in 2019 under pro-Russian President Igor Dodon before losing the position again in 2021 at Sandu's request.

The Insider wrote that it is unclear when Gorgan started working for Russian intelligence, but the outlet's undisclosed military intelligence source said the contacts most likely began in 2004 when the Moldovan officer served in a NATO mission.

Communications between Gorgan and the GRU's Makarov became particularly active in April 2022, that is, shortly after the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine.

Gorgan ceased communication after the mass expulsion of suspected Russian spies in July 2023 and secured a job at the UNHCR-Moldova office in Chisinau, the investigation said.

Adrian Balutel, Sandu's chief of staff, announced shortly after the investigation was published that Gorgan's state awards and military ranks would be withdrawn.

"Such insider criminals contribute to hybrid threats to our country. That is precisely why we need more effective tools to fight against these acts of treason," Balutel said on Telegram.

Blinken meets with Sandu in Moldova, announces $50 million in support
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Moldova on May 29 to meet with President Maia Sandu and announce support worth $50 million to help Chisinau transition away from Russian energy dependence and further integrate with the EU, amid warnings of heightened hybrid threats from Russia.
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