The EU is giving money for bridges over the Prut and European gauge in Moldova so that NATO can more easily send weapons to Ukraine, according to a false narrative circulating in Chisinau
NEWS: “The NATO countries are developing military supply routes on the eastern flank. In September, Romania announced plans to build the railway gauge according to European standards (1435 mm) on the Pașcani-Iași-Giurgiulești and Galați-Giurgiulești sections. In the future, they will be extended to Chisinau and Odesa, which will allow military echelons to travel unimpeded to Ukraine, announces the "Doi Maiori" Telegram channel.
[...] Also, the Romanian Ministry of Infrastructure plans to build and modernize nine bridges over the Prut, on the border with the Republic of Moldova. The construction of the Iași-Ungheni bridge has begun, which is financed by the EU (16.5 million euros) as part of the "Military Mobility" project. The initiative involves the development of transport infrastructure in the interest of the unimpeded movement of goods and European military units in the EU and in other countries.
Against the current background, the EU, acting as an interested party in the delivery of agricultural products from Ukraine, covers the process of rapprochement of NATO infrastructure with Russia, which, in the context of worsening relations, is expected to be used by the Alliance for military purposes. In general, both Brussels and Washington are completely indifferent to whether or not Chisinau wants to join NATO, which are the results of polls and the opinion of more than two-thirds of the population. We will be used as the collective West needs it in its war against Russia. After all, our country is run by puppets whose arms and legs are on hinges, with heads full of sawdust and passports of other states in drawers.”
NARRATIVE: The West is developing the transport infrastructure in the Republic of Moldova to more easily deliver weapons to Ukraine.
LOCAL CONTEXT/ETHOS: For years, the Republic of Moldova and Romania have been discussing several large infrastructure and interconnection projects. Some of these are intended to reduce the dependence of the Republic of Moldova on Russian energy resources, and the Iasi-Ungheni gas pipeline demonstrated its importance in this regard in the context of the energy crisis last winter. A project to interconnect the electricity grids of the two states is also currently under implementation.
The increasing energy independence of the Republic of Moldova has repeatedly triggered criticism from Moscow, who is interested in maintaining dependence.
Chisinau and Bucharest have also been discussing for several years now the construction of new bridges over the Prut, given that there are currently only 7 border crossing points between the two states, and queues often form at customs points due to the increased flow. The situation worsened after the invasion of Ukraine, which generated a significant increase in the number of passengers, but also of goods, as Russia imposed a blockade on Ukrainian sea ports.
PURPOSE: To present the infrastructure projects that the EU is implementing in the Republic of Moldova as having a military basis, the aim being to use its territory for the transit of weapons. To feed the fears of a part of the population regarding the involvement of the Republic of Moldova in the war in Ukraine. To rehash one of the main Russian propaganda narratives that the West/NATO caused the war in Ukraine and Russia is de facto fighting the "collective West".
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The Republic of Moldova and Romania have been discussing for several years the need to build new bridges over the Prut to facilitate the road interconnection between the two states. Until the Soviet occupation, the two banks of the Prut were connected by more than 20 bridges , most of which were destroyed after 1944.
The governments of the Republic of Moldova and Romania have agreed on the construction of a bridge in Ungheni - but not between Ungheni and Iasi, as the article erroneously states, but between Ungheni, the city in the Republic of Moldova, and the village of Ungheni, located opposite it – at the joint meeting on February 11, 2022 , but the discussions had started much earlier. Following the large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission proposed the revision of an Action Plan on Military Mobility. The second Action Plan was approved in November 2022 and also envisages "improving dual-use transport infrastructures". Based on the Action Plan, a Military Mobility Package was finalized, and 16.5 million euros from that package were allocated for the Ungheni - Ungheni bridge. However, it is a response to the new challenges and risks generated by Russia's aggression in the region.
The narrative promoted in the article that the West is allegedly investing in the infrastructure of the Republic of Moldova in order to use its territory for arms transit is also illogical: it would mean that the West would be interested in spending additional financial resources to create a defenseless transit zone, which it can be attacked by Russian missiles at any time, given that Romania and other NATO and EU member states have a common border with Ukraine and any weapons could be delivered directly.
The narrative according to which the war in Ukraine was caused by the West/NATO is also one that is frequently used by the pro-Kremlin propaganda, previously debunked by Veridica .
GRAIN OF TRUTH: The EU and Romania are investing in the development of the infrastructure of the Republic of Moldova. The European Commission has indeed approved the financing of the construction of the Ungheni-Ungheni bridge with 16.5 million euros, money from the Military Mobility Package.