Blinken To Support Moldova's Western Hopes Against Russia

Blinken to support Moldova's Western hopes against Russia

Chisinau, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th May, 2024) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Moldova on Wednesday with plans to show robust support for the front-line country's Western aspirations amid Western alarm over Russian gains elsewhere.

Blinken will spend a day in Moldova at a time when Russia is scoring a series of battlefield victories in neighbouring Ukraine.

The visit coincides with an expected move by Georgia, another former Soviet republic, to ram through a law against "foreign influence" seen as inspired by the Kremlin.

Russian troops have been stationed for decades in Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria, where speculation grew earlier this year that Moscow would attempt outright annexation.

Blinken will announce "a robust package of support" for Moldova, said Jim O'Brien, the US assistant secretary of state for Europe.

He said the aid would focus in part on energy. Moldova until recently imported nearly all its natural gas from Russia but has been seeking to diversify.

O'Brien said Blinken would also announce measures to boost democracy and counter disinformation ahead of elections later this year in which pro-European President Maia Sandu is seeking a new term.

O'Brien described Sandu's track record as a "success" but said she has been "a target of Russian disinformation and aggressive operations" since the moment she took office.

"Obviously the people of Moldova will have a chance to decide. We want them to decide in a free and fair environment with as little interference or disinformation as possible," O'Brien told reporters.

Blinken's trip comes a week after the European Union signed a security and defence pact with Moldova that is also aimed at helping the country defend against Russian threats, including in cyber security.

- Moldova back on agenda -

Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popsoi called Blinken's visit a "strong signal of political and financial support" to the country.

"While some do everything to put us in difficulty, others come and help us and extend us this hand of friendly help to overcome these difficulties that others create for us, for which we are extremely grateful," he said, likely alluding to Russia.

Blinken last visited the tiny country weeks after Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, when some made gloomy predictions that Moscow would also strike Moldova.

US officials say they no longer see an imminent threat from Russia, which has around 1,500 troops in Transnistria, but they are taking no chances.

Russia launched an assault on Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region two weeks ago, seeking to press its advantage before US weapons reach the front lines.

The clock is ticking down to the US presidential election in November.

President Joe Biden's Republican challenger, Donald Trump, has voiced admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Andrei Curararu, a security expert and co-founder of, a think tank based in Moldova, said Blinken's 2022 visit had come at a time of "extreme alert" and uncertainty.

He said the latest trip could lay the groundwork for a more formal bilateral security agreement with the United States of the sort Moldova has reached with France.

"A visit of this level also speaks to the fact that the Republic of Moldova is back on the US agenda," he said.

"(It is) also about possible risks and threats to national security," he said.