Moldova Steps in Sanctions: How Does Ukrainian Neighbour Approaches Russia during the War

Monday, 18 April 2022

Initially, Moldova informed the West about its unwillingness to sanction Russia, which accepted it since the country is in a predicament, meaning that the potential sanctions could have put social pressure on the government resulting in it being overthrown.

Although Chișinău also rejected Kyiv’s request to send its jet fighters, its policy toward Russia is everything but friendly. Find out more in the article Sanctions Moldova-style: How Much is Chișinău Willing to Support Ukraine?

On March 6, U.S. State Secretary Anthony Blinken visited Moldova, signaling the country’s president Maia Sandu to abstain from taking a hasty anti-Russian stance.

The reasons for doing so are clear. Firstly, in times of war, the West does not wish to de-stabilize the situation in the Russia-occupied Transnistria. Secondly, despite having a pro-Western government, Moldova is still highly dependent on Russia, including when it comes to energy supplies. 

As a result, Moldova refused to supply Ukraine with the Mig-29 jet fighters, which the country has had since the USSR collapsed with their number decreasing from 30 to 6 over the years, as it "did not want to irritate Russia".

Also, following Chișinău’s decision to abstain from launching sanctions against Moscow, the Kremlin avoided adding Moldova to its "unfriendly countries" list. 

However, this does not mean that Moldova has abandoned Ukraine. Its government emphasizes that the country accepted over 300,000 Ukrainians  – 10% of Moldova’s population – in just several weeks. It also supports Kyiv in international institutions, including the United Nations. 

Besides, it should be acknowledged that Moldova, albeit unofficially, is supporting all the key current measures against Russia, including the financial sanctions, the trading ban, even though it does so in a non-official way (except Russia’s gas that Chișinău is still buying), closing the airspace for Russian flights and working manually with sanctioned companies.

Besides, although Moldova has been subject to Russia’s propaganda for a long time, it still managed to make a paramount move by banning the letters "Z" and "V" in instances that allude to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine as well as the ribbon of Saint George (except for study purposes and those attached to medals). Those who violate the rule will have to face a hefty fine. Now that Moldova has effectively terminated its neutrality status, it faces an array of serious challenges. 

Read more in Sergiy Sydorenko’s article Sanctions Moldova-style: How Much is Chișinău Willing to Support Ukraine?

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