Strengthening Moldovan Military Potential as a Lever of Pressure on Russia

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The pace of military aid rendered by the EU countries and NATO indicates that the West has a strategy to use Moldova as a battering ram to further advance NATO to the east and inflict local heavy defeat on Russia
The mass celebration of the Victory Day in Moldova on May 9 could not be balanced by events commemorating the Europe Day, actively promoted by government officials. Many people and several parliamentary parties retain a traditional view of reading history and the results of the Second World War. This rather numerous and active social group, deprived of a full-fledged political representation, is the main opponent of the government regarding the course towards a final break with Moscow and the expulsion of the Russian Federation from the region by building up the country’s military potential. Despite the fact that the conflicting rhetoric of the authorities is significantly ahead of direct efforts to strengthen the national army and police forces, our leadership considers power strategies utmost seriously. This was confirmed by the next anti-Russian demarche of Maia Sandu, who spoke online at the summit on establishing the so-called Special Tribunal for the Russian Crime of Aggression in Ukraine. She threatened Moscow with liability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Earlier, authorities banned Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, and even a number of pop stars from entering the country. Despite the Kremlin denies any offensive intentions towards Moldova in every possible way and calls for the settlement of the Transnistrian issue at the negotiating table, the government imposes a completely different perception of strategic reality, where only the resistance of the armed forces of Ukraine saves the country from Russian intervention. Chisinau in this sense provides humanitarian and financial assistance to Kyiv, provides its territory for the transit of goods required by Ukraine, and has repeatedly politically confirmed its anti-Russian position. Thus, our authorities independently and purposefully exclude any options for diplomatic solutions with Moscow in the future and continue to derail relations, given the declared intention to reduce the Russian embassy staff in our country. Such “anti-loyalty” is the inevitable price for advance granting of the EU member candidate status and the PAS’s curtsy to its patrons, without whose funding and political support the government of the party in power, unable to manage the economy and social challenges, would have collapsed last year. This “piggy bank” has talk about the rejection of neutrality and membership in NATO, developing on the principle of transition from quantity to quality. The country’s leadership is increasingly persistent in publicly introducing the idea that a neutral status is not a guarantee of security and cannot block the modernization of the armed forces, interspersing this with the demand for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Transnistrian region. The EU countries, as well as the US, UK and Canada directly finance the military budget of Moldova and the development of military infrastructure. In addition, various weapons have already been delivered, ranging from the notorious German Piranha armored personnel carriers to small arms, communications equipment and small unmanned aerial vehicles. Brussels reaffirmed its willingness to assist in the launch of an air defense system in Moldova. The logic of the steps taken by the European bureaucracy is quite consistent with the guidelines recently formulated by the head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell, i.e. a truce exclusively on the Western terms, i.e. military operations in Ukraine to the bitter end. In this sense, the militarization of our republic becomes an additional lever of pressure on the Kremlin and the exclusion of steps to reduce the escalation. The EU and the US are developing own infrastructure and military presence in Moldova. Numerous groups of military advisers, NATO offices and information centers are functioning; projects on cybersecurity, military mobility and border protection have been launched, involving the constant presence of foreign specialists on our soil. Moreover, such work is not only of organizational, but also of symbolic nature. As an example, patrolling the national assembly square on May 9 by a Polish helicopter with the flags of Moldova and the EU. A key component of the strategy is joint exercises abroad and in Moldova, as well as training of national army reservists. It is obvious that the potential of the domestic armed and police forces is not sufficient to solve serious military issues. Ukraine has been strengthening for 8 years and obviously possessed more significant human, logistical and financial resources. But despite this, even Josep Borrell admits that without Western support (including mercenaries), the defeat of Kyiv would have been a matter of a few days. It is simply impossible to prepare Moldova for a full-scale Russian invasion, constantly mentioned by Maia Sandu and Igor Grosu. However, a limited, predominantly police, operation supported by allies, primarily Romania, with actively practiced joint maneuvers, is quite a realistic, but not the only scenario. This is why Moldova accumulates reserves and interaction experience, including information and intelligence. The goal of the operation will be not only Russian peacekeepers, but also the political regime on the left bank of the Dniester. If neither side achieves a decisive advantage in Ukraine for a long time, such a scenario could well be used by the West to demonstrate success to voters and create additional difficulties for Moscow. It is a logical question, whether Russia would respond to the threat to its own peacekeepers, as in Georgia in 2008, but there is no unequivocal answer so far. Based on the public statements of the Russian ministries of defense and foreign affairs, there will be consequences, and the authorities cannot guarantee that they will cope with these consequences.