Moldova shares a border with Ukraine to the east and Romania to the west. Moldovan criminals are therefore capitalizing on the chaos of war by profiting from their position in Europe.
The country has become a centre of organized crime. This is reported by the German TV channel Tagesschau. In the east they smuggle, while the west offers a lucrative neighbourhood for sales to the EU, mybusiness.md reports.
At the same time, the country’s government does not have resources to properly guard the borders. Therefore, for the first time, the EU’s external border security agency (Frontex) is conducting border controls outside the EU: in Moldova on the border with Ukraine.
It is the first experience for Frontex. It is the first time that an EU border security agency carries out so-called “first line checks” outside the European Union. This is a new level of cooperation with EU neighbouring countries, said Frontex spokesman Piotr Switalski.
“This required a special agreement between the EU and the respective country. Today, 93 Frontex officers offer support with equipment and patrol vehicles. For example, they assist Moldova in border management,” Switalski said.
The EU intends to stop organized crime and prevent drugs, illegal migrants and weapons from Ukraine from entering the EU via Moldova.
Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Frontex already co-operates very closely with the Moldovan border service.
“Moldova is not a member of the EU, but it plays an important role in its defence, “for example in the fight against drug and gun smuggling. This is very important already now and will unfortunately become even more important after the war,” Johansson believes.
Frontex Deputy Director Lars Gerdes said that weapons from the Balkan conflicts are still ‘walking’ around Europe, and because of the war in Ukraine, there is already almost unimpeded access to weapons and explosives, and most of them could potentially enter the criminal market.
Gerdes fears that these smuggled weapons will be used to supply criminal networks, organized crime or, in the worst case, terrorists in Europe.
“Now in Ukraine we are dealing with more advanced weapons and larger quantities of arms. This is a criminal phenomenon that will certainly worry us for decades to come,” Gerdes warns.