Moscow describes Moldova’s plans to become a regional platform for Ukraine’s reconstruction as a declaration of war against the Russian Federation.
NEWS: The Republic of Moldova’s leadership is bordering direct complicity with Ukraine, by following the orders of the collective West, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
“Through the actions of Kyiv, the collective West is actively drawing the Republic of Moldova in the conflict in Ukraine, and furthermore, it sees Moldova as a second Ukraine. Unfortunately, Chișinău is vulnerable to such shenanigans and is no longer willing to stick to talks about Moscow’s so-called unprovoked aggression and appeals to unlimited solidarity with the regime in Kyiv. Moldovan authorities are very close to becoming a direct accomplice to the criminal authorities in Kyiv, trading its own population as collateral”.
The Russian MFA representative warned against the declaration regarding Moldova’s readiness to become a logistics hub for Ukraine’s southeastern territories, despite all the bloodshed. “Any politician or state official of sound mind would never want their country to become a bridgehead for military actions. However, we can see the Moldovan leadership is looking for trouble, by inviting all sorts of mischief and misfortune on its territory. They have even suggested the deployment of military engineers to demine the territories of Ukraine”.
“Moreover, Moldova is developing its cooperation with NATO and the EU in the political and military fields by continuing to militarize the country. In this context, the authorities are actively promoting the idea about the opportunity to renounce the neutrality status enshrined in the Constitution, claiming it does not correspond to international developments. Obviously, this cannot but cause concern”, the Russian MFA spokeswoman said.
NARRATIVES: 1. The pro-European government in Chișinău wants to drag the Republic of Moldova in the war in Ukraine. 2. The Moldovan government wants to force the country’s NATO accession.
BACKGROUND: The authorities in Chișinău have condemned the war and expressed support for the Ukrianian people, first and foremost by hosting and ensuring the transit of over 850,000 Ukrainian refugees, of whom over 100,000 are still residing on the territory of Moldova. At the same time, Chișinău has repeatedly pointed out it will remain neutral, a status dictated by the Constitution, and that it will not get involved in the war.
Nevertheless, Russian propaganda launched several narratives meant to promote the idea that the authorities in Chișinău are subordinated to the West and are willing to side with Kyiv in the war in Ukraine, despite the fact that Chișinău has denied any intention of joining military operations and has ruled out the possibility of settling the frozen conflict in Transnistria with the use of military force.
The narratives about the Republic of Moldova getting ready to enter the war against Russia, its involvement in any type of military conflict and NATO’s use of Moldovan infrastructure to support Ukraine in the war against Russia have intensified in recent months with a view to fueling fears at society level and negative attitudes towards NATO. The North Atlantic Alliance Organization is a boogeyman for most of the Moldovan population, which regards the Alliance through the lens of Soviet, and more recently, Russian propaganda. In this context, surveys show that approximately 25-30% of the country’s population would support NATO accession, while the majority population wants Moldova to remain neutral, even if the invasion of neutral Ukraine has proved this status is not an option to safeguard national security.
PURPOSE: To induce fear about the risk of Moldova being dragged into a large-scale military conflict (against Russia) should it continue to pursue closer relations with the West (NATO) and to thus exert pressure on local authorities. To promote the idea that neutrality remains the only security option for the Republic of Moldova.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Maria Zakharova’s comments most likely come in response to the statement made by Moldova’s Foreign Minister, Nicu Popescu, on the sidelines of the Ukraine Recovery Conference, hosted by London over June 21-22. “We will continue to contribute to the consolidation of the ‘Solidarity Corridors’ initiative, including through the implementation of joint infrastructure projects to facilitate the transit of Ukrainian products on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. I have expressed Moldova’s willingness to become a logistics hub for Ukraine’s southeastern territories, thus contributing to the reconstruction process. Another initiative I have presented pertains to consolidating energy interconnections between Ukraine and the EU via the Republic of Moldova, including through the use of overhead power lines. At the same time, our country is ready to dispatch a unit of military engineers to support the efforts to demine Ukrainian territory”, Minister Nicu Popescu said.
Analyzing the statement of the Moldovan Foreign Minister, it is clear he referred to infrastructure projects developed jointly with Ukraine and his country’s willingness to become a logistics hub for the reconstruction of Ukraine, which would normally create new opportunities for the Republic of Moldova as well: the transit of goods, the creation of new jobs, the import of technology and know-how.
The conference in London focused on “mobilizing international support for Ukraine’s economic and social stabilization and recovery from effects of war”. Participants never raised the question of military support for Ukraine.
Russia’s war against Ukraine has sparked debates in Chișinău about the best possible solution to guarantee the country’s security (which also happened in most other countries), while many Moldovan officials argued that neutrality does not offer this guarantee, as the Russian invasion of Moldova’s neighbor has proved. Nevertheless, Moldovan officials, including president Maia Sandu, have repeatedly said that Moldova can only change this status by means of a referendum.
Moreover, the Russian invasion generated talks about the need to ensure the security of safer states with a longer tradition of neutrality, such as Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Switzerland.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: Moldovan political elites are considering the possibility of joining NATO, although they insist this can only happen by means of a referendum.
OFFICIAL REACTIONS: “In its relations with its foreign partners, the Republic of Moldova observes the country’s national interests.
Moldovan-Russian relations are known to have been seriously impacted by the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine and every negative consequence of this conflict, including for the Republic of Moldova.
Moldovan authorities remain determined to combat the Russian Federation’s destabilizing actions targeting our country”, the Moldovan MFA commented Maria Zakharova’s statement.