Blinken promises US support to alert Moldova while war in Ukraine rages

CHISINAU – On Sunday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken promised American support for the small former Soviet-oriented former Soviet republic of Moldova, which is coping with the influx of refugees from Ukraine and is wary of Russia’s escalating war with its neighbor.

Blinken met with senior Moldovan officials seeking international assistance in the fight against more than 120,000 refugees from Ukraine, which she is now accepting, and seeking security guarantees against potential Russian aggression.

More than 230,000 people have fled or passed through Moldova from Ukraine since the start of the war 11 days ago. Blinken said the reception of refugees in Moldova inspires the world.

“We admire the generosity of hospitality, the willingness to be such good friends to people in need, and, indeed, I want to do everything in our power to help you cope with the burden that this has imposed,” he said.

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Moldova, the 2.6-million-strong country in the disputed Transnistrian territory, has Russian troops and is being closely watched as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to invade Ukraine.

“It is a subject of high vulnerability, and we are watching it closely,” said Moldovan President Maya Sandu. She said that so far there were no signs that about 1,500 Russian soldiers based in Transnistria had changed their posture, but stressed that this was a cause for concern. what is happening in Ukraine.

“There is no way to feel safe in this region now,” Sandu said.

Despite being militarily neutral and not planning to try to join NATO, Moldova only three days ago formally applied to join the European Union as soon as possible to strengthen its ties with the West.

“While we face such unprecedented circumstances, we are firmly committed to the path of European integration,” said Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita. “We believe that this is a program of transforming Moldova into a modern, prosperous European state based on the fundamental values ​​of human rights and the rule of law.”

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Blinken praised Moldova’s European aspirations and said Moldova could count on US support.

“Moldova has chosen the path to democracy, a more inclusive economy, closer relations with European countries and institutions, and the United States supports Moldova in this effort based on our respect for neutrality enshrined in the constitution,” he said. .

“Moldova is a powerful example of a democracy that is rising so far with foresight and determination,” Blinken said.

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