On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the country’s solidarity with the small, Western-oriented former Soviet republic of Moldova, which is dealing with an influx of refugees from Ukraine and warily watching Putin’s militarized war against its neighbor.
Almost 230,000 refugees have crossed into or were routed through Moldova since the conflict began 11 days ago. Blinken said Moldova’s acceptance of refugees is an example for the world to follow.
In fact, I want to do everything I can to help you deal with the burden that you have been given,” he said, praising your generosity of hospitality and willingness to be such good friends to people in distress.
In a meeting, a senior official of Moldova called on blinken to help them deal with the more than 120,000 refugees from Ukraine that they are now hosting as well as to provide security assurances against possible Russian aggressions.
In Moldova, a country with a population of 2.6 million, Russian troops are stationed in disputed territory known as Transnistria, and they are being closely watched as Russian President Putin presses ahead with the invasion of Ukraine.
Maia Sandu, the Moldovan president, said, “this is a subject of high vulnerability. We are carefully watching it.”
According to her, there has been no sign yet that the approximately 1,500 Russian troops in Transnistria have changed posture, but she stresses that it is a cause for concern given what is happening in Ukraine. “There’s no way now that we can feel safe in this region,” Maia said.
Despite its neutrality militarily and lack of interest in joining NATO, Moldova filed its membership application for the European Union just three days ago in a fast-track bid to benefit its relations with the West.
The Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita, said that with the current unprecedented circumstances the country remains firmly committed to the path of integration into the European Union.
As we see it, this agenda is meant to transform Moldova into a modern, prosperous European state based on the fundamentals of human rights and the rule of law.
Moldova’s aspirations toward European integration have been praised by blinken, who said the United States would support Moldova.
Moldova has decided to move toward democracy, a more inclusive economy, and closer ties with international countries and organizations, and the United States provides Moldova with support for those efforts based on respect for its constitution-enshrined neutrality,” he said.
Moldavia with its vision and determination is a powerful example of a democracy rising into the moment,” said Blinken.