Moscow is unhappy that Moldova is moving closer to the EU, amid Russian state media reports America’s growing concerns that Russia may attempt to destabilize the small Eastern European country.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that Moscow is open to “constructive and pragmatic” talks with the Moldovan government in Chisinau, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
“Unfortunately, a change in Chisinau’s course towards Russia is unlikely,” he continued.
Moldova’s parliament approved a pro-Western government this week.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu has accused Russia of plotting to destabilize the country, which Russia’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed as “completely baseless and unfounded”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “deep concern” This week about the possibility of further Russian interference with Moldova.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola also expressed the body’s “unwavering solidarity” with Moldova. in an open letter on Tuesday. “The Republic of Moldova has a place with us, in the European family,” he said.
Why Moldova is important: The small country, located between Ukraine and Romania, was part of the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a handful of “frozen conflict” zones emerged in Eastern Europe, including one piece of land along Moldova’s border with Ukraine Known as Transnistria.
The region declared itself a Soviet republic in 1990, resisting any attempts by Moldova to become an independent state or merge with Romania. When Moldova became independent the following year, Russia immediately inserted a so-called “peacekeeping force” into Transnistria, sending troops there to push back pro-Moscow separatists.
This alleged “peacekeeping” presence reflected the pretext for the invasion in Moscow. Georgia and Ukraine.
Alarm bells were rung in Moldova and the West when the Kremlin began claiming that the rights of ethnic Russians were being violated in Transnistria – a move prompted by Putin’s February 2022 invasion of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine. Another argument used to justify this involved two breakaways. Russian backed statelets.
In the context of today’s war, the Russian-backed separatist enclave at the southwestern edge of Moldova may now offer a counterweight to any westward Russian offensive from eastern Ukraine.
CNN’s Alice Hammond and Michael Conte contributed to this report.