Zelensky accuses Russia of trying to destabilise Moldova
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seemingly signalled that Russia has its eyes set on its “next victim” during a visit to North Macedonia this week.
Lavrov met with other members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for their annual meeting only to issue an ominous warning to Moldova.
He suggested the former Soviet Republic is putting itself in harm’s way with its growing closeness to the European Union, which granted Moldova candidate status in a show of support amid fears the invasion of Ukraine could expand.
This year Brussels renewed its commitment to providing Chișinău with financial and security support.
During the OSCE meeting on Thursday, Lavrov said: “The Kozak Memorandum, which could have reliably resolved the situation in Moldova 20 years ago, is among the thwarted attempts to resolve the acute problems of our continent on the basis of OSCE principles
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“At that time, NATO and EU Brussels unceremoniously torpedoed the document…. In fact, Moldova is destined to be the next victim in the hybrid war against Russia unleashed by the West.”
The memorandum was an attempt from the Kremlin to resolve tensions between Moldova and the separatist region of Transnistria, which broke off from the country following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In the first months of Russia’s war in Ukraine, analysts and international leaders voiced concerns about Moscow exploiting the Russian-controlled territory to mount an invasion of Moldova.
The Moldovan Foreign Ministry slammed Lavrov’s comments noting the country had “felt the entire arsenal of destabilisation attempts that Russia has unleashed against us.”
In a statement released after the OSCE meeting, which Kyiv and several European partners boycotted over Lavrov’s presence, the Eastern European government branded Ukraine’s invasion “brutal.”
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They said: “Russia’s statements, whether today or on previous occasions are part of the series of hostile actions that the Russian Federation has been trying to implement towards our country over the past 30 years.
“Fortunately, throughout this time, the partner states in the West have been by our side, helping us to successfully overcome these threats.”
In a firm show of defiance against Russia’s threat, the Moldovan Government also reiterated the country is committed to joining the EU and demanded the withdrawal of all Russian military personnel from its land.
They added: “Taking into account that Minister Lavrov still arrived at the OSCE ministerial meeting, we hope that our message—clear and sharp—will be understood by him as well.
“The Republic of Moldova is going, irreversibly, on the European path and today, more than ever, we insist on the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from our territory.”
Lavrov’s threat came only days after the Moldovan Parliament voted in favour of applying the same sanctions on Russia that the EU did following Ukraine’s invasion.
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