“We will not leave Moldova alone in the cold or in the dark”
Along with Ukraine, Moldova has become a symbolic battleground for the clash of values. Russia puts pressure on the republic. The country countered this with a pro-European stance and received Germany’s support at donor conferences.
RUssland must not win its hybrid war against Moldova, was the message at the third donor conference for Moldova in Paris on Monday. With 100 million euros of emergency aid, the platform participants want to mitigate the immediate effects of the energy crisis and help Moldova through the winter. “We will not leave Moldova alone in the cold, in the dark or in the immediate recession,” said Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach (Greens). “Unity is the value that defines us in Europe and the EU,” he added.
The Republic of Moldova is as large as Baden-Württemberg, but with about 2.6 million citizens, it has less than a quarter of the population of the southwestern German state. Yet a symbolic power struggle is taking place between Moscow and Brussels in the former Soviet republic, one of Europe’s poorest countries, as Moldova has become a symbolic battleground for a clash of values with Ukraine. Russia has cut off gas supplies to the republic, which lies between Ukraine and Romania and has been a candidate for EU membership since June. Since October, less than half of Russian gas flowed to Moldova, which received 80 percent of its prewar gas imports from Russia. Inflation is 35 percent.
“Our energy vulnerability leads to political intimidation and interference in democracy, domestic and foreign policy,” said President Maia Sandu, whose staunch pro-European leanings have been a thorn in Putin’s side. The 50-year-old Harvard graduate is the first non-Russian president of the country, which has had only pro-Moscow governments since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The country’s delicate situation is further complicated by the self-proclaimed “Republic of Tanzania” bordering Ukraine, which is occupied by the Russian military.
Ahead of the Paris conference, Sandhu pointed out Guest article for the online magazine Politico Pointing out the critical situation in his country, he urgently asked for help. According to Sandhu, people are ready to make sacrifices for Europe’s democratic values. “But we can’t do it alone.” He pointed out that electricity prices have quadrupled since the war of aggression against Ukraine, and gas prices have increased sevenfold. According to Sandu, Moldovans must spend 65 percent of their income on energy.
With this third commitment since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, organizers from the donor base Germany, France and Romania, along with several EU countries and 15 international organizations, are signaling that they are united behind Moldova. France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna spoke of “black mail” and “hybrid warfare” that Russia is waging against Moldova by destroying Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
Baerbach: Putin Threatens States “Moving Towards Democracy”
Germany plans to contribute 32.35 million euros to the 100 million euros promised in Paris. The money will primarily be used to strengthen renewable energies and energy efficiency, expand drinking water supplies, and support Moldova in taking in refugees from Ukraine. France pledged an additional 100 million euros in special aid. A total of 1.2 billion euros in aid was pledged at the first conference in Berlin in April and the second in Bucharest in the summer.
French President Emmanuel Macron said it was Europe’s “moral duty” to stand with Moldova, noting Russia’s destabilization efforts, adding that “now is not the time to back down or retreat.” Perbach said Putin is particularly threatening those states that are “on the road to democracy.”
Observers fear that the economic situation and the approach of winter will tip the country’s mood in a different direction. According to Washington Post revelations, there is evidence that Russia’s FSB is trying to bribe politicians in Moldova and fund the Moscow-backed opposition. According to reports from the Ukrainian secret service, groups have been staging weekly demonstrations in the capital Chisinau, sponsored by Moscow-loyal oligarch Ilan Shor. The super-rich politician was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for corruption, then fled to Israel.
Also, tens of thousands of dollars are said to have flowed into Moldova from some of Russia’s largest state-owned enterprises. 24 people suspected of funding the protests have recently been arrested. including members of the Shore party. According to the Moldovan public prosecutor’s office, 20 black bags were seized with 3.5 million lei, equivalent to about 176,000 euros in cash “I fear that Moldova is an easier target than Ukraine,” said Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Serebryan.
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