Moldova has to make more efforts to comply with the European Union’s restrictive measures. This follows from the report of the European Commission, which recommended starting negotiations on Moldova’s accession to the EU.
In the section “restrictive measures”, the report’s authors specify that at the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Moldova did not join the sanctions packages against the Russian Federation and Belarus approved by the European states, “but the authorities committed not to avoid the EU sanctions”.
According to the report, Moldova’s level of compliance with the restrictive measures of the Common Foreign and Security Policy was 54% in 2022 and increased to 78% in August 2023, when Chisinau expelled 22 Russian diplomats and 23 staff from the technical service, limiting the Russian embassy staff by two-thirds.
In 2023, Moldova has gradually begun to join “certain restrictive measures” against Russia or its activities abroad. In March, Chisinau imposed sanctions against 13 Russian citizens: members of the Wagner group, soldiers accused of rape in Ukraine, and police officers who tortured protesters in Moscow.
In addition, Moldova joined international and European initiatives in support of Ukraine, including resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the Council of Europe.
However, the report said, “more efforts are needed to harmonize with the EU’s restrictive measures and improve the credibility of their implementation, including by strengthening the national authorities responsible for these actions”.
Since 2014, the EU has gradually introduced a series of restrictive measures against Russia in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea, the war against Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. These include individual sanctions, economic sanctions and diplomatic measures.
As a country associated with the EU, which received candidate status in June 2022, Moldova should join the European sanctions.
At the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moldovan authorities said that Western partners showed understanding for Moldova’s position not to support sanctions immediately to avoid a harsh reaction from Russia, on which Moldova depended for energy.