Two challenges for Ukraine when it comes to Transnistria

Flags of Moldova
Flags of Moldova

Moldova is not just a neighbor for us, it is a key state

Ukraine and Moldova are simultaneously starting negotiations on joining the European Union. But there’s also Transnistria. And there is crazy Russian influence in today’s Moldova. And Russia will try to destabilize the situation ahead of elections, which will take place in the second half of the year. The appointment of [former Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council] Oleksiy Danilov as our Ambassador to Moldova doesn’t fundamentally change anything in this situation, even if he is not a career diplomat. In fact, the security issues around Moldova, around Transnistria, they are, in my opinion, a top priority. Let’s examine the task before the incoming ambassador.

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The first challenge, as I mentioned above, is Russia’s attempt to destabilize Moldova ahead of this year’s elections. And Russian influence in Moldova remains not only powerful, but systemic. Unlike us, Moldovans still watch Russian television channels and work in Russia. It’s interesting that even people with a different personal history are still very oriented in this sense to the consumption of Russian products. The economic situation in Moldova is difficult, so it’s not easy to find work there.

And the second fundamental challenge is that we cannot have Transnistria as a Russian enclave when we and Moldova are members of the European Union. That is, it’s fundamentally impossible. It’s necessary to develop a strategy and implement it in such a way that Transnistria ceases to be a Russian transplant, with FSB de-facto having a subsidiary there, under the guise of the Ministry of State Security.

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But now new opportunities are emerging. Russia has less money and pays less attention to Transnistria. Although I don’t rule out that Russia will stage something in Transnistria, some kind of provocation or a series of them. It would actually be quite logical on their part. So, I believe these security challenges around Moldova are key. Everything else, in particular, coordination on the EU track, is important, but not critical, in my opinion. This will be done mainly through Brussels.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine