NARRATIVE: NATO is not a reliable partner and will not ensure the security of its own members in the event of a Russian attack.
LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: The Republic of Moldova is considered the most vulnerable country in the region in the face of a potential armed conflict. With a small territory and an underfunded army, it also faces a separatist conflict in the eastern region, which is led by a pro-Moscow regime, backed by the Kremlin and where Russian troops and ammunition are stationed.
Moldova's rapprochement with the EU has been criticized by Moscow and pro-Russian politicians in Chisinau, who have been coming up with alarming messages about the possibility of Moldova's accession to NATO, or NATO using its territory.
Narratives about the preparation of the Republic of Moldova for a war against Russia, its involvement in military conflicts, and NATO using its infrastructure to support Ukraine in the war with Russia have intensified in recent times, aiming to fuel citizens' fears and negative attitudes towards NATO.
PURPOSE: To present NATO as a weak alliance that is unable to defend its own members, while at the same time suggesting that Russia is (much) stronger from a military point of view.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, only one poll has been conducted in which citizens have been asked about the option of joining NATO. Nearly 22% said they would vote for NATO membership in a referendum. Their number has been declining compared to last summer, when a third would have been in favour. However, the fall of this trend regarding NATO membership has been gradual since August 2021, and is more related to a decline in confidence in the ruling of the pro-European Action and Solidarity Party, who came to power after the July 2021 elections. Proof of that stand that the confidence in NATO had increased before, along with elections won by center-right parties/politicians.
NATO has not “forsaken” Ukraine, because it has no obligation to it, as the country is not a member of the Alliance. Before launching its large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia demanded assurances that it would not be accepted into NATO, precisely because it knew that once it joined the Alliance, Ukraine would be protected. The very fact that Russia has decided to attack Ukraine, not smaller states like the Baltic countries, is a clear demonstration of the fact that NATO is a guarantee of its members’ security, given that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty stipulates that an attack on a Member State is an attack on all the members of the Alliance.
NATO has supplemented the troops and defense capabilities of the states on its eastern flank, especially in Romania, Poland and the Baltic States. Leaders of the organization, including the US Vice President Kamala Harris on her visit to Bucharest, have given assurances that NATO will defend each of its members.
Finally, although NATO has rejected Ukraine's request for a no-fly zone because it wants to avoid a conflict with the Russian Federation, the Alliance has expressed solidarity with Kiev and many member states have provided Ukraine with ammunition and equipment worth billions of euros.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: NATO has not got involved in the war started by Russia against Ukraine.