Moldova, Ukrainian refugees’ crumbling bridge to Europe:


Take the minibus from Chisinau to Romania like any other Moldova. Bring two plastic bags, bottled water and fruit, and a suitcase for two. Yevheniy is 25 years old. He left Dnipro as much as he could, took his girlfriend and a very nice Englishman, and went somewhere. I don’t look back. What are you doing in Moldova? escape the war. How long have you been on the run? I have no idea. How is your city? All right. Wasn’t it bombed? Less than Kharkiv, less than Mariupol, less than Mikolav. where are you going? to Iasi. Then? to Berlin. Then? to Munich. Then? We will stay there. what will you do? He shrugged. Smile. good luck. “Again, my friend,” he replied. equal.

Romania and Moldova, one country and the other, have been repeating scenes since February 24, when the Kremlin began its full-scale occupation of Ukraine and the largest exodus from European territory since World War II.

The steadfast grandmother, apparently whole, succumbed to the repetition of history.cruelty Vladimir Putin Revived the specter of Nazism and Stalinism.

Tired mother with cold eyes, thinking of children, husband, war or the past.

The older children are sad and downcast, while the younger ones happily forget, only sometimes sad, wearing hats, down jackets and stuffed toys, carrying school bags and holding candy in their hands.

so few men, so few, that The effect of martial law obviously.

A mother and her daughter wait to cross the border in Palanka, Moldova.

sedat suna


Yevheniy shrugged off service to the state and decided to try the same fortune as the other 300,000 of his countrymen, who chose to flee starvation through the poorest country in Europe, similar to Catalonia, with only 2.5 million inhabitants. , cold and mortar, to save the life of my sister, the life of my mother, the life of a child born or about to be born, and finally my own life.

No plans beyond one day. Sometimes they have friends or relatives all over Europe, sometimes not. Most of them took advantage of the opening of the EU to travel to Germany, the Netherlands, Romania or Spain. Ukrainians, as war refugees, are free to cross the border and settle anywhere in the Schengen territory.

They travel by bus or plane, a good measure of economic inequality in their country, and they live in makeshift shelters, generous strangers’ homes, or less-than-considerate hotels that take advantage of desperate prices to offer insane prices. in Chisinau, 90% of the rooms are occupied and one night costs Moldova a week’s salary.

on the brink of collapse

Two-thirds of Ukrainians who entered Moldova under a state of emergency and its airspace closed since February 24 used the small republic as a bridge. You see, Yevheniy is no exception. But what about the remaining third? What are the possibilities? What future? Why stay?

Can a poor, uninfrastructured, geographically beleaguered country support 5% population growth overnight?

Can the crumbling Moldovan bridge support the weight of hundreds of thousands of poor Ukrainians with no resources to flee, who hasn’t come yet?

“It is only possible with the help of the US, EU, UN and international organisations,” he concluded Julian Groza, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, 2013-2015. “You’ve seen it. We have 3,000 volunteers, without whom it would be impossible to serve so many people. National resources are limited. We are facing an unprecedented crisis. We need international help. We need to resettle them.”

Number of Ukrainian refugees migrating to neighbouring countries.

Number of Ukrainian refugees migrating to neighbouring countries.


Moldova is the neighbor most affected by the exodus. Absolute numbers make Poland the border crossed by most Ukrainians: to date, 2 million. But Moldova’s proportions are already in their own minds. As if Spain received 5.8 million people in three weeks. It seems that nearly two million people, more than the inhabitants of Barcelona, ​​chose to stay.

With Moldova’s very low GDP per capita, 4,000 euros per year; agriculture and precarious subsistence economy have deteriorated after two years of the pandemic and a long dry season; the accumulation of structural problems, not a month, and is difficult to resolve for ten years; and A social and political crossroads that binds his hands and feet in front of the Kremlin, ready to destabilize the country through hybrid war mechanics, massive disinformation campaigns, and supply extortion. Because 80% of Moldova’s electricity and 100% of its natural gas are signed by Moscow.

So it is understandable without translation, liberal and pro-European government Maya SanduLike the liberal and pro-European governments of Ukraine and Georgia, the timing was chosen to make a formal request to join the EU without giving up its neutral role in Putin’s eyes.

“So many refugees put a huge strain on our country,” he explained. Vadim Pistrinchuk, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, 2009-2012 Fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The war has caused a lot of problems, we’ve had some problems. Inflation [puede irse al 12% este año] And sky-high energy prices are very worrying. The war severely affected our imports and exports. Social tension is brutal. We expect an increase in the flow of refugees from Odessa, which is also our company’s main port. There is no doubt that without the help of the Europeans, we would be on the verge of collapse.”

As Groza points out, Moldova will suffer the consequences of Ukraine’s closed passage. It hurts overseas sales and market supply, and hampers trade relations with China that are worth about $600 million a year. The republic is also no stranger to unprecedented oil prices, which are inextricably linked to Western sanctions against Russia. The price of lighting at gas stations in the country is 27 lei per liter. For thousands of Moldovans, this is an unaffordable amount. In a country where the average salary is 400, this is equivalent to one and a half euros.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken with President Maya Sandu.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken with President Maya Sandu.

Government of Moldova

Chisinau just has to look west. Cover some or all of the losses in the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian markets, and gain political and financial support.Brussels, which helped Moldova with soft loans last year, is preparing a new bag 150 million euros, of which 30 are subsidies. In addition to this, the border with Ukraine should be strengthened through Frontex agents, which is essential to prevent women and children from falling into the hands of the Mafia and the involvement of individuals from different member states.

This week, Spain pledged to transfer 8 million euros and provide two tons of humanitarian aid. The question is whether solidarity at home and abroad will be enough to withstand collapse.

“The enthusiasm of the volunteers is commendable, but the country cannot be sustained by their efforts alone,” he commented. Valery Pasha, political analyst and director of the WatchDog think tank. “The truth is that even with European support, Moldova has a hard time creating ideal conditions for refugees. For example, we have the same population as Berlin, but our economy has to be 20 times smaller. This is why logistical cooperation and redistribution are crucial Because of this, it would be a good step for Moldova to join the European Refugee Instrument.”

He added: “We are naturally only talking about humanitarian aid to Ukrainians. But what about the one that the poorest Moldovans need?”

Fear of Russian invasion of Moldova

If weeks of exodus pile up, it means the worst is yet to come. If tens of thousands of Ukrainians continue to arrive, how can they be guaranteed access to Moldova’s rushed social and medical services? If they decide to stay in the country, How to provide employment opportunities for locals when they hardly have enough jobs? If half of the refugees are children, how can education be matched if Ukrainian families start their stay in Moldova for more months than weeks?

“We know that the first thing to provide is the necessities,” he replied Donard, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy and European Integration of the Moldovan Parliament. “The Ministry of Education is developing a strategy for kindergartens and primary schools. We want women and children who come to integrate. We know we have to think long-term. We are optimistic.”

Pristinchuk introduces various nuances between sighs. “Obviously, our system is not prepared for this situation. Some children can receive online classes in Ukrainian schools. But what about the rest? Our system uses Romanian as the vehicle language. The children who come do not know the language. They Speak Ukrainian and Russian. Yes, there are teachers who volunteer to help them. But, as you can see, the measures being implemented are temporary.”

Given the unlikely odds, Moldova appears to be betting everything on Russia’s immediate end to its occupation of Ukraine. At the same time, he crossed his fingers lest Putin expand the war into his territory, which the Pentagon is far from ruling out, As we publish at EL ESPAÑOL.

In the absence of a military deterrent capability, a poorly equipped army of only 7,000 men, President Sandu met with representatives from Europe and the United States, such as the US Secretary of State (Anthony Blinken) or the Spanish Foreign Minister (Jose Manuel Albarez) and had a phone call with the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

All to convince Putin that Moldova is protected, and at the same cost to calm the nerves of its nervous citizens, who are used to hearing that the fall of Odessa will bring an alliance with Transnistria. That’s why, Pasha said, “Ukrainians are defending Moldova.”

For thousands of Moldovans, the separatist area covering the Transnistria is a major cause of fear. This territory is actually controlled by the Kremlin, There is an illegal presence of 1,500 to 2,000 Russian soldiers It also houses the main weapons warehouses of the Russian Federation abroad.

The government said no worrisome movements or drills had been registered along the Transnistrian river “so far”​​. But Moldovans, with fifty years of Soviet history, remember their history fresh. They worry that Ukraine is just the beginning.

Russian-Ukrainian War

Russian-Ukrainian War


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