Opinion: “Moldova is Being Dragged into a Conflict with Russia”

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It becomes more and more difficult for Moldova to stay in the neutral zone in the light of the Ukrainian conflict by day
Semion ALBU, RTA: I think there are no illusions left that the Ukrainian conflict and the new Cold War that unfolded with it is transient. The United States is confidently leading the Western world, as well as its allies and minions around the world, to the most severe political and economic confrontation with Russia. The war victim itself, however, is not affected by it in any way yet. All the key requests of Kyiv were in fact ignored: a no-fly zone has not been established, the application to join the European Union has been rejected, they are openly not wanted in NATO. Which, in general, destroys the entire ideological basis of post-Maidan Ukraine. There is even no extensive financial aid – the belligerent country, despite the dire economic situation, is not provided only not with much assistance, but even with its former debts cancellation. The maximum it is offered is to freeze the repayments. The only thing that Kyiv has been helped with is the supply of weapons that will not help to achieve a turning point in the war, but only to tighten it to the maximum. It is clear that in such a situation, the number of Ukraine’s losses – human, material, territorial – will only multiply. But I hope it is already clear to everyone the interests and desires of Kyiv aren’t being taken into account by anyone. Ukraine has already played its role in the geopolitical games. But will it be the last “pawn to be eaten” in this game? In this sense, Moldova found itself in the most vulnerable position. Being literally caught in the crossfire, our authorities preferred to sit out the conflict in silence and not particularly shine. As soon as the war began, although we condemned Russia’s actions, we immediately warned that we would not join the sanctions. And it was a very reasonable decision unusual for the ruling party. However, such decisions are wide off the mark at the moment. Even if the country is a hundred times neutral – and everyone knows that our neutrality in many situations was, let’s say, quite “volatile” – selling its sovereignty abroad for many years sooner or later breeds consequences. My colleagues and I have repeatedly written that at a crucial moment Moldova will be used in others’ own interests, regardless of its possible losses and huge risks to its territorial integrity and statehood in principle. In the end, Ukraine was also used in the same way, which after the current war will remain in ruins, and it will take decades to restore. Such is the fate of geopolitical puppets. We have followed the same path and can barely resist the influence of our “strategic partners”. And so, despite Sandu’s pacifying statements, interesting things have begun to happen in recent days. For example, Moldova suddenly found itself on the list of countries that signed a proposal to the World Trade Organization to deprive Russia of preferences, which will lead to an increase in customs tariffs on Russian goods. That is, we are talking about another sanction, which we directly supported, although we kind of promised the opposite. Will our little demarche remain hidden from the Kremlin? Hardly. And there’s more to it. A few days ago, PACE adopted a resolution on the exclusion of Russia from the Council of Europe. Before the vote, a number of amendments were made to it, including recognition of Russia’s act of aggression against Moldova and the Russian occupation of the Transdniestrian region. Curiously, the co-author and initiator of this amendment were deputies from Romania, which was accompanied by representatives of a number of other countries - France, Great Britain, Georgia, etc. It is curious that Moldova itself was not formally among the authors, but its deputies eventually supported the project. There are two options here – the amendments were made behind our backs, and we were simply confronted with the fact – you know, geopolitical expediency. Or we were aware, maybe even initiated an idea, but it was decided to cover up Moldova’s participation behind the big brother’s back. Neither option makes me happy. Because either we are not considered an independent player at all and are squeezed into a conflict agenda, or we contribute to this with our own hands. All this happened amidst the next visit to Moldova by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. There is an opinion that he came not only to discuss formalities. Quite possibly, Maia Sandu was given, at best, proposals, and at worst, instructions on exactly how Moldova should be involved in the Ukrainian conflict. After all, shortly before that, Iohannis himself met with US Vice President Kamala Harris, who visited Europe to rally shocked allies and coordinate joint actions. If you thought that I was escalating, and nothing like that could happen – the US State Department clarified everything in this regard, having admitted in the person of Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland that all American ambassadors were given the task to put pressure on local authorities in order to join anti-Russian sanctions. And we all remember how influential US ambassadors are in Moldova, and how they solve things. What can they demand of our country right now? First, to get involved in the western information campaign in to promote the “aggressor country” thing. Russia is now actively labeled “new Nazi Germany” that threatens the entire Eastern Europe, including Moldova. So Moscow’s accusations of initiating the Transdniestrian conflict and the demands to withdraw Russian troops repeated yesterday by Maia Sandu fell very much into place here. And, most likely, they were said not without Western partners’ hints and requests. Second, the Moldovan territory could be used for transit to Ukraine. Interestingly, yesterday Iohannis mentioned the humanitarian hub in Suceava, located relatively close to the Moldovan-Romanian border. Currently, humanitarian supplies are being concentrated there, as stated, to be sent to Ukraine. There is a suspicion, already supported by precedents, that these cargoes may not only be humanitarian. The fact is that transit through Moldova would be very beneficial, for example, in order to deliver the necessary goods in the shortest way to the same Odessa region, which, most likely, will soon become another combat zone. Anyway, the fact that Moldova is increasingly appearing in the plot of the Ukrainian conflict is very disturbing. Moreover, there is a complete impression that our involvement in the confrontation with Russia is not of our own free will. Probably, the republic’s leadership will try to refrain from drastic steps for now, but I think, under certain scenarios, the West will activate the Moldovan “pawn” already fully – and it will hardly be possible to get away from this.