Maia Sandu, president of Moldova, spoke directly to families in her country, thanking them for “opening their homes and hearts” to millions of Ukrainian refugees.
During her speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Sandu said she represents a nation that wants peace. She points out that the people of Moldova speak many different languages - including Ukrainian and Russian – but “regardless of our ethnicity” or political preferences, “we all want peace” “.
Sandu paid tribute to all Moldovan families who showed “unprecedented solidarity with refugees by opening their homes and hearts to those in need” during the war.
“I am proud of my people,” she said.
Moldova, which has about 2.6 million inhabitants, has sheltered more than half a million refugees fleeing the war. At its peak, Moldova’s population grew by 4% when Ukrainians crossed the border, the Moldovan president said. Sandu said about 800,000 refugees have chosen to stay in the country.
“It is our moral obligation as an international community to continue to support Ukraine,” the president said.
Sandu’s address comes as Moldova granted candidate status of the European Union in June. In her speech, she said she was grateful for the support from member states and the “recognition and vote of confidence in our love for freedom” and democracy.
“By applying to join the European Union, we want the world to know that we choose democracy over autocracy, freedom before oppression, peace before war and prosperity over poverty,” Sandu said.