NATO allies vow to back Moldova, Georgia, and Bosnia


BUCHAREST — Outside of Ukraine, Moldova has been hardest hit by Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, Moldova’s foreign minister said on Wednesday, as NATO offered new assistance to three countries affected by the impact. of Moscow’s ten-month war.

“We want to expand our cooperation with our pro-Moldova partners… including the European Union (and) NATO,” Nicu Popescu told the Associated Press in an interview in the Romanian capital.

That support for Moldova – as well as Georgia and Bosnia – also came from NATO allies on Wednesday when the foreign ministers of the three countries met with their NATO counterparts to discuss how the world’s largest security organization can help them cope with the political, energy, and territorial uncertainties caused by war.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the talks that the allies discussed shared security concerns with the three countries he said were facing Russian pressure. Stoltenberg said coalition members have agreed to help train and improve the security and defense institutions of the three countries.

“If there is one lesson to be learned from Ukraine it is that we need to support them now… as we see developments going in the completely wrong direction as we saw with the invasion. strategy of Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at the Palace of Parliament in the Ukrainian capital. Bucharest.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has had a particularly unsettling effect on Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbor, which is currently facing a severe energy crisis due to its dependence on Russian imports.

In recent weeks, it has suffered widespread power outages as a result of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid. Moldova’s Soviet-era energy systems are still connected to Ukraine, which is why the Russian missile attack turned the lights off.

Russian rockets also flew over Moldova, rocket debris fell on the country, and in April explosions occurred in the country’s Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria, where Moscow has about 1,500 troops stationed.

“Every week there is something new, there is a new negative impact of this war on us,” Popescu said. “Last week… almost 80-90% of the country was in darkness almost all day. This is a really, completely unacceptable, very aggressive Russian operation against Ukraine that also completely disregards our security.”

Moldova was granted EU candidate status in June, the same day as Ukraine, and is constitutionally neutral, but “neutrality does not mean demilitarization, we need military means and all other means to defend our country, to protect our peace, to protect our people from aggression,” Popescu added.

Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday that Bosnia – which has long been ravaged by political instability, Russian interference and ethnic tensions – is “important to the stability of the entire West”. Balkans”. Protests rocked half of the country’s ethnically divided Bosnian Serbs last month after some voters accused a pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader of rigging an election. elections in the Serb entity, Republika Srpska.

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said her country, where a government is in the process of forming after the election, is “very concerned about the future.”

“We have proxies, or we have delegators, in our government, Russian proxies. So the division in the country is deep and we hope that we will be able to overcome it. NATO’s presence is extremely important for Bosnia-Herzegovina because it is our security guarantor,” she said.

NATO promised Georgia that, like Ukraine, it would join the 30-nation alliance one day, but Russian troops flooded into Georgia after that commitment was made 14 years ago. A breakaway region of Georgia this year threatened to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

Last week, an international aid conference in Paris co-hosted by France, Germany and Romania raised more than 100 million euros ($103 million) to support Moldova, Europe’s poorest country. Earlier this month, the EU also pledged to give the country 250 million euros (nearly 258 million dollars).

“We’re working with all of our partners… and that’s working for us,” Popescu said Wednesday. “At the same time, the truth is that between now and April (we) still have a lot of work to do to ensure that we will have an uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity.”


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