The Russian war continues to wreak havoc on Ukraine. The repercussions of the war are already threatening peace in Moldova. The eastern European country is increasingly concerned that once Ukraine prevails, Moscow will turn its wrath toward Moldova.
Moldova considers quick accession to the European Union the only guarantee against any Russian aggression. In turn, the NATO allies, apprehensive of Russian designs against the tiny country, which is surrounded by Ukraine on three sides, decided to strengthen the defense of the eastern European country.
The country of 2.6 million people sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine was part of the former Soviet Union. Moldova has had a turbulent relationship with Russia over the past few decades.
It was granted EU candidate status in June 2022, along with Ukraine and Georgia. Negotiations to officially join the European Union will begin, which will take a few years.
The protracted invasion of neighboring Ukraine has made the country a keg of fuel. Moldova shares a long border of more than 1,200 km with Ukraine, and Russian long-range missiles have entered its airspace on several occasions. The growing rapprochement between Moldova and the European Union is not viewed with satisfaction by Moscow.
Anticipating Russia’s plots against Moldova, the European Union decided to help Moldova to step up air surveillance, logistics, and electronic defense.
A statement from the European Council said: “The approved assistance measure amounts to €40 million over 36 months and will finance non-lethal equipment, supplies and services for units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Moldova, including technical training. Approved equipment includes air surveillance, mobility, transportation, logistics, command and control, and cyber defense equipment.”
This is the third measure of assistance from the European Union. Earlier, 40 million euros in defense aid was given in June 2022, and one of the 7 million euros before that in December 2021.
On June 1, forty-seven heads of state from the European Union, Ukraine, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and other countries in the Balkans gathered in Moldova for a European Political Community summit that delivered a message to the Kremlin from the EU and the pro-Western Moldovan government.
Moldova aspires to join the European Union by the end of this decade. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also attended the summit, which was held just 20 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
The summit was a show of force by Western countries in support of Moldova. In light of the EPC summit, an RAF RC-135W Rivet Joint spy plane also flew its first reconnaissance sortie within Moldovan airspace, along with other reconnaissance aircraft patrolling the Romanian side of the border.
Online flight-tracking websites have recorded the RC-135W flight plans departing from the UK, flying east over the English Channel, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland before continuing over Slovakia, Hungary and Romania before crossing into Moldova.
And flew in Moldova along the border. The aircraft is one of the powerful weapons for intelligence gathering through electronic data. Gathers details about air defense radars and other signal emitters from adversary territory. The aircraft helps generate Electronic Commands to Battle (ORBAT) for future wars by documenting potential hostile capabilities.
European countries fear that Moldova will be Russia’s next target if it succeeds in Ukraine.
Aside from the long-range missiles traversing its territory, Moldova also has a problem with the Russian military under its sights. The breakaway region of Transnistria or Trans-Dniester – a narrow strip of land between the Dniester River and the Ukrainian border – broke away from Moldova in 1990.
The self-declared state is not recognized by the international community, and the de facto government, which remains in confrontation with Moldova, is supported economically, politically and militarily by Russia, which has an estimated 1,500 soldiers in Transnistria.
In veiled threats, Russia has warned Moldova not to become “anti-Russian”. The Kremlin also accuses Moldova of planning to take over the separatist region of Transnistria.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu has been pushing for accelerated accession to the European Union, which she sees as a guarantee against becoming Russia’s next target.
“We believe that Russia will continue to be a great source of instability in the coming years, and we need to protect ourselves,” Sandu said on the sidelines of a Council of Europe summit in Iceland two weeks ago.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) injected 525 million euros into the country’s economy last year. It is a record investment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as the country grapples with high inflation and the fallout from war.
The Bank granted a loan of 300 million euros to Moldova to diversify its energy suppliers. Until two years ago, Moldova was completely dependent on Russia for gas supplies. Today it does not import natural gas and electricity from Russia.
The European Union has also granted 87 million euros in civilian aid and is now supporting it by opening a civilian mission in the capital of Moldova. Staffed by up to 50 officials, the mission will open on June 6 and has a two-year mandate.
In a statement about the civilian mission, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said that under the joint security and defense policy, the bloc would “intensify its support for Moldova”. [لحماية أمنها وسلامة أراضيها وسيادتها” ضد روسيا.
وأكد المسؤولون أن البعثة ستركز على “إدارة الأزمات والتهديدات المختلطة ، بما في ذلك الأمن السيبراني ، ومواجهة التلاعب بالمعلومات الأجنبية والتدخل”.
“في 3 يونيو ، أرسلت بولندا عددًا كبيرًا من الأسلحة والذخيرة والعتاد إلى شرطة مولدوفا. بعد الكشف عن المحاولة الروسية لزعزعة استقرار البلاد ، أرسلت بولندا أسلحة في ست طائرات نقل – طائرتان من طراز Hercules وأربع CASA ، حسبما أعلنه وزير الشؤون الداخلية البولندي” ، بحسب ما قاله ماريوس كامينسكي ، على تويتر.
“مولدوفا المستقلة وذات السيادة ، التي تقاوم محاولات زعزعة الاستقرار الداخلي ، تحتاج إلى دعمنا. هذا هو السبب في أنني قررت تسليم حمولة ضخمة إلى الشرطة المولدوفية”، حسبما كتبه الوزير على تويتر.
في 31 مايو ، وصلت الدفعة الأولى من المعدات من الاتحاد الأوروبي ، المقدمة من مرفق السلام الأوروبي للجيش المولدوفي ، إلى مولدوفا. تتضمن حزمة المساعدة هذه التي تبلغ 7 ملايين يورو طائرات بدون طيار وأجهزة كمبيوتر محمولة ومعدات التخلص من الذخائر المتفجرة ومعدات الموجات فوق الصوتية والمزيد.
وقال وزير الدفاع المولدوفي أناتولي نوساتشي إنه بحلول نهاية العام ، وكجزء من هذه المساعدة ، ستتلقى مولدوفا أيضًا سيارات إسعاف وروبوتات ضد الألغام وأجهزة كشف عن المعادن ورادارات ومركبات ومعدات طبية.