Moldova’s defenses should be strengthened to help guard against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vision of an enlarged Russia in Eastern Europe, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said.
In an interview with Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper, Truss said that despite Russia’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian capital, Putin is determined to create a “Greater Russia” that has its sights set on other territories in Eastern Europe. .
In line with increased support for Ukrainian defences, one “vulnerable” state in the region that the NATO alliance should seek to support is Moldova, Truss said.
“I would like to see Moldova equipped according to NATO standards. It’s a discussion we have with our allies,” Truss said.
“Putin has been absolutely clear about his ambitions to create a greater Russia – and just because his attempts to take kyiv have failed doesn’t mean he’s given up on those ambitions,” she added.
Moldova is a former Soviet republic sandwiched between the Romanian and Ukrainian borders. It does not share a border with Russia, but Putin’s advance through the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine has come close to the territories of Moldova, which lie inland from the western shore of the Black Sea.
The country, led by President Maia Sandu, is not a member of the NATO alliance, but after Russia invaded Ukraine it sought to draw closer to the West and demanded to join the European Union just two weeks after Russian forces stormed into Ukrainian territory in February. .
Sandu traveled to Brussels this week to lobby for her country’s bid for EU membership. “We are aware that political decisions at EU level have to be taken. We are also aware that these are not easy decisions. But granting Moldova candidate status is the right decision. We belong to the European Union,” she told members of the European Parliament in Brussels.
The Moldovan president also pointed to recent events in the Transnistria region – a narrow strip of land between Moldova and Ukraine – as a cause for concern. Three explosions were reported on April 25 and 26 in the area. “Recent tensions inside the Transdniestrian region…have heightened concerns about possible destabilization,” Sandu said.
Transnistria is a breakaway state that left Moldova after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. It has close ties to the Kremlin, and in late April Russian military commander Rustam Minnekaev revealed that Moscow’s strategy was to establish a land corridor through southern Ukraine. the way to Transnistria.