Moldovan Ex-President Dodon Freed From House Arrest, Vows To 'Continue Fight'

Former President Igor Dodon has been released from house arrest in connection with multiple criminal charges but ordered to not leave the country for 60 days.

The freeing of the pro-Moscow Dodon on November 18 followed a ruling by the country's Supreme Court of Justice in which the judges rejected the anti-corruption prosecutor's office's request to extend the home detention.

Dodon, who heads the Socialist Party and had been under house arrest since May 26, immediately vowed to supporters outside the courthouse after his release that he would continue to protest against Moldova's pro-Western leadership under President Maia Sandu and Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita.

"This is our first victory, but the fight continues," Dodon, who has long favored closer ties to Russia, said in Chisinau.

Thousands of protesters have filled Chisinau's streets in recent weeks to shout down Gavrilita's government amid a mounting winter energy crisis and spiking inflation as Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine grinds on, a situation further complicated by recent hacks of senior officials' social-media accounts.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Petru Iarmaliuc last month forwarded the so-called "Kuliok" file to the court accusing Dodon of enabling corruption and accepting support from "a criminal group" for his Socialists.

He is alleged to have received as much as $1 million in 2019 from Democratic oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc and a confidant, Sergei Iaralov.

The investigations are continuing.

The U.S. Treasury last month announced sanctions against former Moldovan politicians including former legislator and Democratic Party (PDM) head Plahotniuc and fugitive businessman and party leader Ihor Shor and his wife, along with and a handful of Russian nationals.

Moldova, a former Soviet republic of around 3 million people wedged between Ukraine and Romania, is hugely reliant on Russian gas and energy.

Russia's Gazprom has suggested it could suspend gas supplies to Moldova over a payment dispute.