World

Seeking aid for Moldova, hard hit by war in neighboring Ukraine

PARIS –

Diplomats are calling for money and other assistance on Monday for Europe’s poorest country, Moldova, which is suffering from severe power outages, large refugee flows and potential security threats from the war in neighboring Ukraine.

According to the French Foreign Ministry, Monday’s international aid conference in Paris is aimed at “concrete and immediate assistance” to the landlocked former Soviet republic. Two previous conferences for Moldova this year raised hundreds of millions of euros, but as the war dragged on, its demand grew.

“This international support is all the more important because Moldova is currently facing an unprecedented energy crisis that, with winter approaching, threatens to lead to a humanitarian crisis for people of Moldova,” the ministry said.

Massive power outages temporarily hit more than half a dozen Moldovan cities last week as the Russian military attacked infrastructure targets across Ukraine. Moldova’s Soviet-era energy systems are still connected to Ukraine, which is why the Russian missile attack triggered an automatic shutdown of a supply line.

Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s foreign minister and minister of European integration, said at the Paris conference on Monday that “the goal of today is to continue moving forward with the guarantee of peace, stability, and stability.” in our European region.”

“Ukraine is facing brutal Russian aggression but this aggression is posing problems for everyone in Europe and that of course applies (to) Moldova as well,” he said. “Moldova is seriously affected by this war economically, regarding the security of energy supplies.”

Earlier this month, the European Union pledged 250 million euros (nearly $260 million) in support of Moldova after Russia halved its natural gas supplies. Moldova’s energy crisis worsened when Transnistria – a Moscow-backed breakaway region of Moldova with an important power plant – also cut power in other parts of the country.

Rising energy costs and skyrocketing inflation will put pressure on consumers in this country of about 2.6 million people as the cold season kicks in.

Moldova relied heavily on prewar Russian energy and increasingly sought to forge closer ties with the West. It became a candidate for EU membership in June, along with Ukraine. However, joining the 27-nation bloc depends on a series of key reforms such as cleaning up corruption, the rule of law and full membership that will take years.

“We’ve got missiles, Russian missiles are flying over our airspace,” said Moldova’s Popescu. “We face many challenges so we are here to work with our European partners to reduce the impact of this war on Moldova, to maintain peace and stability.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Moldova has been rocked by a disturbing series of events — with many fearing that war could spread across its borders. In July and August, numerous fake bomb threats were reported in the country; Missile debris landed last month in a Moldovan border village; In April, tensions in Transnistria spiked following a series of explosions in the breakaway region.

Moldova’s pro-Western president, Maia Sandu, will meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.


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Stephen McGrath reporting from Sighisoara, Romania



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