Moldova pleads for help as Ukraine war brings multiple crises – POLITICO

Moldova is rapidly running out of opportunities to provide Ukrainian refugees with “dignified” shelter and care, Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said in a news conference on Saturday.

The country needs additional resources from foreign partners in the form of equipment, financial aid and help in relocating refugees – all within “hours and days,” Popescu warned.

“We are by far Ukraine’s most fragile neighbor,” he said, citing Russia-backed “pro-war propaganda” and ongoing airspace closures, as well as arms proliferation and a growing refugee crisis. Moldova, with around 2.6 million inhabitants, has so far taken in 237,000 refugees, 113,000 of whom are on its territory.

Popescu said he expects those numbers to increase.

“We are nearing the rupture,” he said, also citing a massive economic hit from the loss of imports from Ukraine, mostly from the port of Odessa, as well as a collapse in investor confidence and cross-border activity. “I can readily look back on a lost decade in terms of democratic consolidation and economic development for Ukraine and for Moldova.”

“Moldova is in a very, very difficult situation,” he added.

Along with Georgia, the country applied for EU membership earlier this week in “solidarity” with Ukraine, Popescu said. In response, the country’s separatist-ruled Transnistria region, which is under de facto Russian control, has asked Moscow to recognize its independence — just like Ukraine’s separatist Donbass region before the Russian invasion.

“We are waiting for an encouraging signal from the EU,” he said.

At the same time, the country has no intention of joining global sanctions against Russia or taking steps towards rapprochement with NATO, he said, citing the country’s precarious security situation and constitutional military neutrality status.

His comments came just ahead of a planned visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken later Saturday. Moldova pleads for help as Ukraine war brings multiple crises - POLITICO

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