War in neighbouring Ukraine has created new challenges and complicated old ones for Moldova. Not least among them is the future of Transnistria, a breakaway region that, with Russian support, has been de facto independent since 1992 and hosts a Russian military presence. But Moldova, which received candidate status in the EU in June 2022, must also define its role in Europe and European security. Crisis Group monitors developments related to the Transnistrian conflict, Russia’s attempts to influence Moldovan politics and the Russia-Ukraine war’s repercussions for the country’s stability. In its advocacy, Crisis Group recommendations emphasise ways forward on Transnistria, mitigating the dangers of the war in Ukraine and Moldova’s role in the evolving European security order.
Chişinău labelled Russia “security threat” for first time.
President Sandu 11 Oct announced that Moldova’s new national security strategy refers to Russia as threat to its security for first time ever; document, which still needs parliamentary approval, said “Russian Federation and its proxies in the Republic of Moldova represent the most dangerous and persistent source of threat which, if not countered, can have severe effects on the statehood, democracy and prosperity of the country”. Meanwhile, authorities 30 Oct announced access to TASS website and other prominent Russian media outlets would be blocked amid upcoming local elections in Nov. Actions came amid growing concern about Russian destabilisation efforts in Moldova.
The threat of coronavirus looms large in six self-declared republics that have broken away from post-Soviet states. War and isolation have corroded health care infrastructure, while obstructing the inflow of assistance. International actors should work with local and regional leaders to let life-saving aid through.
Unresolved conflicts and breakaway territories divide five out of six of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership countries, most of them directly backed by the Russian Federation. But a policy of isolating the people living in these conflict regions narrows the road to peace.
With Romania’s expected entry into the European Union in 2007, the EU will share a border with Moldova, a weak state divided by conflict and plagued by corruption and organised crime. Moldova’s leadership has declared its desire to join the EU, but its commitment to European values is suspect, and efforts to resolve its dispute with the breakaway region of Transdniestria have failed to end a damaging stalemate that has persisted for fifteen years.
Resolving the Trandniestrian secessionist dispute in Moldova is vital to remove a potential source of chaos on the periphery of the expanding European Union, to implement an important part of the post-Cold War settlement, and to make Moldova itself a more viable state.
The conflict in the Transdniestrian region of the Republic of Moldova is not as charged with ethnic hatred and ancient grievances as others in the area of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and it is more conducive to a sustainable settlement.
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