Moscow is unhappy that Moldova appears to be moving closer to the European Union, Russian state media report, amid growing concerns in the United States that Russia is trying to destabilize the tiny Eastern European country.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that Moscow remained open to a “constructive and pragmatic” dialogue with the Moldovan government in Chișinău, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
“Unfortunately, the course from Chișinău to Russia is unlikely to change,” she continued.
The Moldovan parliament this week approved a pro-Western government.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu accused Russia of plotting to destabilize the country, which the Russian Foreign Ministry called “completely baseless and baseless”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week expressed “deep concern” over the prospect of further Russian interference in Moldova.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola also expressed the body’s “unwavering solidarity” with Moldova in an open letter on Tuesday. “The place of the Republic of Moldova is with us, in the European family,” he said.
Why Moldova matters: The small country, located between Ukraine and Romania, was part of the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a handful of “frozen conflict” areas in Eastern Europe emerged, including a strip of land along the border between Moldova and Ukraine known as the name of Transnistria.
The territory declared itself a Soviet republic in 1990, opposing any attempt by Moldova to become an independent state or merge with Romania. When Moldova became independent the following year, Russia quickly inserted a so-called “peacekeeping force” into Transnistria, sending troops to support pro-Moscow separatists.
This so-called “peacekeeping” presence mirrored Moscow’s pretense for invasions in Georgia and Ukraine.
Alarm bells in Moldova and the West intensified when the Kremlin began to claim that the rights of ethnic Russians were being violated in Transnistria – another argument used by Putin to justify his February 2022 invasion of the Luhansk and of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, which contained two separatist Small States backed by Russia.
In the context of today’s war, the Russian-backed separatist enclave on the southwestern edge of Moldova could now present a bookend to any westward Russian attack from eastern Moldova.
This article is originally published on nouvelles-dujour.com