As Moldova braces for waves of refugees from Ukraine, President warns population that Moldova has awoken to «a new, more violent, world’.

Moldova Concerned About Possible Attack from Russian-Backed Region

Moldovan Border Police helping Ukrainian war refugees. Photo: Moldovan Border Police Facebook page

Moldovan President Maia Sandu on Friday voiced deep concern about the security situation on her country’s border caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Yesterday morning, we woke up in a new world, more violent, more uncertain, more unstable. It is a world where unprovoked warfare is taking its toll near our borders. It is undoubtedly a world we hoped we would never like to live in,” she said.

Russia stations about 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, which is sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine.

The soldiers are split between a so-called peacemakers group and the Operative Group of Russian Troops, OGTR, which is subordinated to the Russian Western Military District based in Sankt Peterburg.

Paramilitary forces loyal to the secessionist regime in Tiraspol are estimated to number about 10,000 men. Moldova on the other hand has only about 6,000 troops, including staff personnel.

The Ukrainian general staff announced that significant Russian helicopter activity was observed on Friday morning near Tiraspol, the main city of Transnistria.

“We cannot confirm this information,” Moldovan Defence Ministry spokesman Ala Diaconu told BIRN.

Authorities are meanwhile dealing with Ukrainian refugees flooding across border points. “In the last 24 hours we have worked on the security of Moldova, but also for those seeking refuge in our country … An influx of 15,816 people crossing the border has been registered,” Interior minister Ana Revenco said on Friday.

She stated that at the main border crossing points from Ukraine, Palanca-Maiaki Udobnoe, Tudora-Starokazacie, Otaci-Moghiliov Podolsk and Criva-Mamaliga, “the flow is still intense.

“The queue of cars entering Moldova yesterday was over 20 kilometres lonfg. It dropped to about eight kilometres during the night but this morning we are recording an increase,” the minister specified.

Of over 15,000 arrivals, about 3,100 have left Moldova for Romania, and another 3,320 returned to Ukraine. Moldova registered 315 asylum applications.

Moldova has installed two big facilities to receive refugees, one in Otaci for about 500 people and one in the capital Chisinau for 600 persons.

Parliament declared an emergency state on Thursday, also promising to aid refugees.

Romanian MEP Siegfried Muresan said Moldova was facing challenging moments and its authorities will receive help from Brussels.

“Moldova is now being treated as an EU member state. Therefore, it will receive EU support like any other EU Member State. We will also provide Moldova with everything for support like any EU Member States. We thank  Moldova for everything it does for the people of Ukraine,” he wrote on Facebook.

Political expert Angela Gramada told BIRN that the central authorities had taken the right decisions to minimize the negative impact of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

“I hope they coordinate actions with the local authorities, especially the localities close to the border with Ukraine, so that they can assist all those who have trouble,” she said. “At the same time, messages sent by the authorities should not spread panic among the population. From the beginning, they must omit any form of misinterpretation and inform citizens correctly and punctually,” Gramada said.

Another political expert, Mihai Isac, told BIRN that Moldova was on the frontline of a refugee crisis.

“Chisinau will need the help of the international community to help the Ukrainian refugees. The existence of Transnistria is the main factor behind the decisiveness of its decisions. The Russian army can become active in a short time, so Chisinau is now in the worst security situation in decades,” Isac said.

He added that the pro-Russian opposition in Moldova was trying to gain political advantages from the war by calling for early elections.


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