The EU should let Moldova into the bloc “as soon as possible” to better protect the country against rising Russian threats, Moldova’s President Maia Sandu said Thursday.
The country of 2.6 million people has for months accused Moscow of trying to destabilize it over Chișinău’s staunch support of Ukraine and pro-Western path, warning the Kremlin has deployed hybrid warfare and sent “saboteurs” to stoke unrest. Russia also put pressure on Moldova by slashing its gas supplies.
“Nothing compares to what is happening in Ukraine, but we see the risks and we do believe that we can save our democracy only as part of the EU,” Sandu said in an interview with AFP, adding that Russia would “continue to be a big source of instability for the years to come.”
Last month, the EU sent a civilian mission to Moldova, wedged between Ukraine and Romania, to help combat the growing threats from abroad.
Russia has also tried to fan tensions between the Moldovan government and the breakaway region of Transnistria in the east of the country. In February, Moscow’s defense ministry alleged without evidence that Ukrainian troops were planning to invade the territory, a claim Moldova strenuously denied.
“We need a geopolitical opportunity to be able to solve the conflict,” said Sandu.
The president added she hoped for a decision to start EU accession negotiations “in the next months.” Brussels granted Moldova EU candidate status last June.
Her comments come as Moldova is set to host the second iteration of the European Political Community next month, where she will host 47 European heads of state, governments and EU institutions for the high-level summit.
That gathering, according to Sandu, “is important because we see that we are not alone, that we have many friends.” (Politico)
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