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The armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine attracted the Moldovan mercenaries to join the war in the Donbas region. They have reached the trenches that mark the red line on the political map of the world, according to a RISE Moldova investigation.

They fought in a war that doesn’t belong to them. At home, they were greeted by the Moldovan authorities, not their family. In Moldova, mercenaries are a crime, something easier rather than being hunted and considered terrorists in Ukraine.

According to the Security and Information Service, around 100 Moldovans have reached separatist trenches, fighting in a war that does not belong to them. Half of them have already been identified, and less than a quarter have reached the defendants’ bench. In the Republic of Moldova, these people are condemned as mercenaries and risk up to 10 years in prison; in Ukraine – the offenses committed by them are considered terrorist activities and are punished by up to 15 years or life imprisonment.

Vitalie Cojocari, 35 years old:

A resident of Cimișlia. In early 2015, Vitalie was at war in Ukraine. For that, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, with conditional suspension for two years.

“It takes me five seconds to kill a man. I can kill him with my own fingers. I never look him in the eyes. You don’t look into your victim’s eyes. We are mercenaries and, for us, this is a service. We wear masks and never spare anyone. No matter who they are.”

Igor Gusikov, Chief of the Apparatus of the Director of the Security Service of Ukraine:

“They are criminals to us. They are terrorists to us. We investigate them on a basis of articles that provide for participation in terrorist organizations, murders.”

Radu Chirilov, Alias “Tiger”, 26 years old:

He was sentenced to three years in prison, for the mercenary activity. The documents obtained by RISE Moldova show that in Ukraine Radu allegedly killed over 50 people. For his involvement in the war, e was paid monthly, with 40,000 Russian rubles, which then meant about 750 euros.

THE FULL STORY CAN BE READ HERE.

Currently studying Interactive/Media/Design at the Royal Academy of Art. Based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Important

2018 World Press Freedom Index: Moldova down to position 81

2 May 2018- Reporters without Borders (RSF) published their 2018 index of freedom of the press around the world.

The ranking of 2018 places Moldova on the 81st place, 1 position down compared to 2017 (80) with a score of 30,41 (-0,40).

RSF did not change its position on the media ownership and polarization in Moldova:

Moldova’s media are diversified but extremely polarized, like the country itself, which is characterized by chronic instability and the excessive influence of its oligarchs. The editorial line of the leading media outlets correlates closely with the political and business interests of their owners. Journalistic independence and media ownership transparency are major challenges. As media outlets battle with each other in a climate exacerbated by the Ukrainian crisis, the broadcasting regulatory authority’s lack of independence and excesses in the “fight against propaganda” continue to be a source of concern.

Romania was ranked 44th with 23,65 points, Ukraine 101st with 31,16 points, while Russia 148th with 49,96 points.

According to RSF, the freest media can be found in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland. The countries with the worst media freedom ranking are Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan.

The RSF underlines in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index that the global situation of the press is worsening, especially in Europe:

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Society

4 years after visa liberalization: 1,46 million Moldovans traveled without a visa to EU

Source: IPN, Elena Covalenco

28 April 2018- 4 years ago, the European Union introduced a visa-free regime for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova.

According to the Border Police of Moldova, 1 469 917 Moldovan citizens used the visa-free facility. Out of these, 1 168 000 citizens came back to Moldova (the other 300 thousand could be still traveling (23 April- reporting date), residing based on a permit or having entered EU with an EU passport).

Most of the Moldovans crossed the border at Leușeni-Albița checkpoint (562 076 persons), followed by the Chișinău International Airport (273 300), Cahul-Oancea (256 307) and Sculeni-Sculeni (217 896). The Chișinău International Airport registers more crossings than ever: 1 535 937 people traveled to EU with their biometric passport. Men cross (2,4 million) the border to EU more often than women (1,8 million), while people aged between 26 and 35 are the most active at EU traveling across the age groups.

IPN quotes the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders that since the visa regime with the EU was liberalized on April 28, 2014, until December 31, 2017, slightly over 14,000 Moldovans were refused entry to the EU because they didn’t meet the entrance conditions, had insufficient financial resources or stayed longer than allowed in the Member States.

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Society

Chișinău gets a 450 square meters carpet of flowers for 110 thousand USD

12 April 2018- A “carpet” of 200 thousand flowers was arranged according to traditional patterns in the square in front of the “Nativity Cathedral,” central Chișinău. The project initiated by the interim mayor Silvia Radu cost 1,8 million lei (approx. 110 thousand USD).

The rectangle has a surface of 450 square meters (15*30) and was put in place by the municipality workers. According to Radu, the “carpet” of flowers could serve as an attraction for Chișinău. Nevertheless, it was admitted that the flowers would stay in the square until Tuesday, April 17th, and then replanted in parks.

The mayoral elections in Chișinău are scheduled for 20 May 2018. Silvia Radu announced that she would attempt to collect signatures to register as an independent candidate.

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