1 Min Read
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Allegations that five Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova last month recruited fighters for the Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine were "idle gossip", the RIA news agency quoted a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying on Tuesday.
Grigory Karasin made the comment shortly after Reuters published an exclusive report citing Moldovan government and diplomatic sources as saying that the five were ejected because of their alleged activities as undercover officers with the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU.
They said Moldovan officials believed the Russians were recruiting fighters from Gagauzia, an autonomous southern region home to an ethnic Turkish population that is pro-Russian and opposes closer integration with the European Union.
Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn