After Ukraine, is Moldova a target for Russia?

Maxim Shipenkov/AFP Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a joint news conference after talks with his Egyptian counterpart in Moscow, January 31, 2023. (Photo: MAXIM SHIPENKOV/POOL/AFP)

Maxim Shipenkov/AFP

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, January 31, 2023.

INTERNATIONAL – Will Russia’s war in Ukraine spread to neighboring countries? In an excerpt from a television interview published by Nexta media on Thursday, February 2, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sowed doubts by referring to the case of Moldova, a small Eastern European country located between Ukraine and Romania.

In this interview, Sergei Lavrov confronts a reporter who asks him: “This is a project [la guerre en Ukraine] is going on successfully. The goal has been achieved. Which country around Russia can follow the same path? Kyrgyzstan? Kazakhstan? »

“Moldova is considered », the head of Russian diplomacy answered him without hesitation. And gives his reasons: “First of all, because they use methods that are far from democratic to make the president the head of state. A president who specifically wants to join NATO, has Romanian citizenship, is ready to unify her country with Romania, and in general is almost ready anything. “

The head of state in question, Maia Sandu, was elected in 2020 by defeating outgoing Igor Dodon for his notoriously pro-Russian policies. She expresses her European ambitions and says she will vote ” Yes Possible referendum on the unification of Romania and Moldova.

Moldova has been under pressure from Russia for months

On Twitter, Daniel Voda, Moldova’s foreign affairs spokesman, replied: “We reject the recent statements made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regarding Moldova in a TV interview. It is clear that they are part of the well-known Russian diplomatic threats. »

About a year ago, Ukraine saw Russian tanks land on its territory after months of tension. Neighboring Moldova, with some 2.5 million inhabitants, immediately feared that the conflict would spread across its territory. Many Ukrainians also fled through Moldova, where thousands remain.

Chisinau remains under pressure if Russian troops (yet) do not attack the country, as the local interior minister told Sunday newspaper January 30.

“Moscow threatens us with every weapon at its disposal: energy blackmail, political destabilization by organizing and financing social movements, cyberattacks on our ministries and institutions, hypothetical bomb threats on hospitals or airports, constant propaganda (.. .)”, Ana Rovenco is listed. Sergei Lavrov’s final outing certainly won’t quell those concerns.

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