two weeks, war. Eugene Ravenko He has been the ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Spain for a month. His wife and three children are still in Chisinau. The suffering of the Ukrainians has come. Moldova is the poorest of the countries bordering the occupied country. Their per capita income is less than $4,500. The Spaniards are six times. Ravenko has 60,000 compatriots in our country.
Moldova is the most stressed country. About 300,000 Ukrainians entered its territory, with 2.5 million inhabitants, an area the size of Catalonia. Half is still there. Refugees make up 5% of the population. They will be more. Humanitarian groups estimate that the number of Ukrainians fleeing the war will triple. Nearly two million have left. It was the largest exodus since World War II.
Moldova is defined as a neutral country. But he was no stranger to his Soviet history, nor to imperialism. Vladimir Putin. Transnistria is well known to the Spanish public FC Sheriff District, does not recognize the Chisinau government. It stretches along the 400 km border with Ukraine. It is actually controlled by the Kremlin. It houses about 2,000 Russian soldiers. If Putin manages to reduce Ukrainian resistance in the Black Sea, and if he controls Odessa, he will likely try to unify the occupied territories with the Moldova region. Then?
Moldova has a pro-Western government.President Maya Sandu Defeat pro-Russian in 2020 Igor Dotton (57.7% and 42.2%, respectively). On February 24, he declared a state of emergency. He has done so on other occasions as Moscow ordered gas cuts. This time, to close his airspace and gain extraordinary powers. On March 3, it formally made a request to join the EU, just like Ukraine and Georgia. All three have common reasons.
Moldova is a big spender, but not enough resources. If the country can stand it, if they shake hands, it’s the volunteers’ credit. But when days, weeks, months pass.
For Moldova, the pressure is unbearable.
Chisinau was not prepared for this. You have to see city roads. They are full. Everything is full. Moldova has to manage a population equivalent to what constitutes the second largest city in the country. Most people go to the capital. We don’t know how many more people will come. The pressure is enormous. But the unity of the people is greater. Maybe because we ourselves suffered our own war in 1992. Maybe because we know Ukraine very well. For a long time, we lived in a place without borders.
They have a lot in common.
I am going to study in Lviv myself! We have friends in Kyiv. We have family and community in Odessa. in southern Ukraine. in the Carpathian Mountains. For example, my assistant is a Romanian from Ukraine who studied in Moldova. These are relationships. We have towns separated by borders and you have to cross bridges, to one side or the other, to go to church. How can we not do everything possible to welcome them? That doesn’t mean the pressure will be greater.
It doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon.
We don’t know how long the war will last. I hope we can create social and working conditions that allow them to live well and not decline psychologically. We must provide legal help, psychological help, medical care. integrate them. This is the first time we have met under such circumstances. It will be a long journey.
Are you afraid that Russia will not be confined to Ukraine?
I will be very clear. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you we’re not worried and we’re peaceful. We can’t as long as we have Russian troops on Moldovan soil. As long as we have 20,000 tons of Russian weapons in it, this is its largest warehouse on foreign soil. As long as the conflict in Transnistria remains unresolved. As long as there is an influential war, in Transnistria, to be precise. However, to date, our authorities have confirmed no dangerous movement. No military exercises with increased risk were observed. We are cautious. We pay close attention to what may happen. We fully understand the situation we are in and what it means for a war to be so close to Moldova.
“We call on the international community to welcome some of the incoming refugees”
Anthony Blinken met with Sandu last Sunday.
We are working to improve our ability to control the crisis. The government has created a new coordination structure that must manage both foreign aid and voluntary aid. We also call on the international community, especially Western countries, to welcome some of the incoming refugees. At the same time, we know very well what war means, and we know who entered the country. For example, on Tuesday, we detained 10 people persecuted by Interpol at a border post. We must increase the police presence on our borders. There are many things that we need to strengthen.
You’ll notice wars from Russia to Ukraine. Both account for a large portion of its imports and exports.
I will try to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
Nearly 70% of our exports go to the EU. Less than 10% go to Russia. This is a level similar to Belarus and Ukraine. Clearly, the damage was deep. I don’t even need to tell you that traffic routes are closed or that access to the market is very limited.
Odessa prepares for the worst.
The Port of Odessa has been widely used for import and export by our logistics company. Odessa is now inaccessible. Since we only have two neighbors, Ukraine and Romania, we have no choice. We have to turn to Europe again to increase our exports. Our carriers have to travel twice as far to ship your products to Russia. Even. And by small routes, no highways, more expensive. We have to think about new destinations.
Yes, there is no doubt that we will experience product shortages. We will have to supply it to the European market. We know prices will inevitably rise. Gas from Russia and will continue to be from Russia will be more expensive. Consumer pressure will increase. The government will have to deal with this.
What do Europeans think about your possible entry into the EU?
We know there are some rules to follow and some procedures. We know that these access negotiations require profound changes to the way countries and economies work and people’s habits. It’s not a matter of a day or two. The question is whether we have this view, or when we will. Moldova in 2022 is not Moldova in 1992. We are implementing market changes. We are successfully completing trade transactions. We are implementing EU rules in most areas. The process is not simple. This has nothing to do with entering the EU tomorrow. But we are moving in the right direction.
Is there a consensus in the country to take this step?
We are not particularly concerned with consensus. We will see it the moment we enter. The support we get from Europe is huge. In Moldova, we are faced with two opposing figures. There are many Moldovans who miss the Soviet Union (USSR). But if you ask them between the EU and Russia, most people prefer the former. That doesn’t mean that many people prefer to stay in touch with Russia.
I don’t think there is any factual reason. Many people think that our trade is mainly related to Russia. Not correct, as I explained earlier. They believe it because there are information fields and media that make them believe it. The government supports independent journalism, and one day, things will change in our country. The trend is on this line. The latest opinion polls give us a lot of support. I don’t know what effect the war will have on Ukraine. But it will allow many Moldovans to see that their country’s stability, security and peace will be better guaranteed within the EU.
“For Moldova, the end of the war is crucial, it will not spread to other territories”
Are you afraid that this war is the beginning of something bigger?
The first thing to remember is that there is no reason, no premise, no argument, nothing to start this war. Madness has replaced reason. We are in the logic of war. I find it hard to find where we are. It is important for Moldova to observe the course of events.
Recently, they have received a lot of international support.
I attach great importance to the defense of our sovereignty. Recently, the foreign ministers of France and the Netherlands and the US Secretary of State visited Chisinau. Your support gives us confidence. The end of the war is crucial for Moldova. Do not expand to other regions. As the war passed, the more serious the problem, the higher the cost. And, of course, the consequences for human life are devastating. If this doesn’t end soon, how will this war unfold? I don’t have an answer. I put all my trust in the negotiation. I want rationality to return.
But the only thing Putin wants to stop the war is Ukraine’s humiliation. He offered the only endorsement of his words.
I’m not an expert on Russia. I don’t know much about his social and political life. I’m not in the military and I don’t know what’s next. I just want the war to end immediately. If resistance were put in place to stop it, the impact on the region would be enormous.
You were in Lithuania before. Do they share the same concerns as Moldova?
Yes, in the Baltic countries. in Romania. On all the former Soviet borders of the restored liberty. I must say that some societies, like Lithuanian society, are very united around a strong identity. They have a good memory. They remember what it was like to lose independence at the hands of the Soviet Union. They are willing to be part of a defensive association. They don’t need a translator to understand Russian intentions. Precisely because they knew they were on the front lines, they knew all too well the importance of resistance and recovery to Russia.
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