Moldova appeals for help as war in Ukraine leads to multiple crises – POLITICO
Moldova is rapidly running out of options to provide “dignified” shelter and care to Ukrainian refugees, Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said at a press briefing on Saturday.
The country needs additional resources from foreign partners in terms of equipment, financial aid and assistance in relocating refugees – and all this within “hours and days”, warned Popescu.
‘We are by far Ukraine’s most fragile neighbour,’ he said, pointing to what he called Russia-backed ‘pro-war propaganda’ and continued airspace closure , in addition to the proliferation of weapons and the growing refugee crisis. Moldova, with a population of around 2.6 million, has so far hosted 237,000 refugees, of whom 113,000 remain on its territory.
Popescu said he expects those numbers to increase.
“We are approaching the breaking point,” he said, also noting a massive economic hit from the loss of imports from Ukraine, mainly from the port of Odessa, as well as a collapse in confidence. investors and cross-border activity. “I can easily envision a lost decade in terms of democratic consolidation and economic development for Ukraine, for Moldova.”
“Moldova is in a very, very difficult situation,” he added.
Alongside Georgia, the country applied to join the EU in “solidarity” with Ukraine earlier this week, Popescu said. In response, the country’s Transnistria region, run by separatists under de facto Russian control, asked Moscow for recognition of its independence – just as Ukraine’s separatist Donbass region did before the Russian invasion.
“We expect an encouraging signal from the EU,” he said.
Moldova received something of a down payment earlier this week when EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visited and pledged 15 million euros ‘to help manage the immediate crisis’ . And later on Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to arrive.
At the same time, the country has no intention of joining global sanctions against Russia or taking steps to move closer to NATO, Popescu explained, citing the precarious security situation and neutral military status of the country, which is enshrined in its constitution.
This story has been updated.