An Even Smaller Nation Fears Russia, and US Pledges Help

Secretary of State Blinken visits Moldova, a former Soviet republic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2022 10:05 AM CST
US Tries to Reassure Another Former Soviet Republic
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Moldova President Maia Sandu greet each other as they arrive to attend a joint news conference following their talks in Chisinau, Moldova, Sunday.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday pledged America’s support to the small, Western-leaning former Soviet republic of Moldova that is coping with an influx of refugees from Ukraine and warily watching Russia’s intensifying war with its neighbor. Blinken met with senior Moldovan officials who are appealing for international assistance in dealing with more than 120,000 refugees from Ukraine that it is now hosting while also seeking security reassurances against potential Russian aggression, per the AP. More than 230,000 people have fled into or passed through Moldova from Ukraine since the war began 11 days ago. Blinken called Moldova’s welcoming of refugees is an inspiration to the world.

Russia has troops in Moldova, a country of 2.6 million, stationed in the disputed territory of Transnistria, and they are being closely watched as Russian President Vladimir Putin presses ahead with the invasion of Ukraine. “This is a subject of high vulnerability and we watch it carefully," said Moldovan President Maia Sandu. She said there had not yet been any indication that the roughly 1,500 Russian soldiers based in Transnistria had changed posture but stressed that it was a concern given what is happening in Ukraine.

“In this region now there is no possibility for us to feel safe," Sandu said. Although it is neutral militarily and has no plans to try to become a member of NATO, Moldova formally applied to join the European Union just three days ago in a fast-track bid to bolster its ties with the West. 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, a closer relationship with the countries and institutions of Europe, and the United States supports Moldova in those efforts grounded in our respect for the neutrality that’s enshrined in the constitution,” he said.

(Read more Moldova stories.)

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