The president of Moldova urged her citizens on Monday to attend a sizable outdoor rally the following month to support her efforts to integrate Moldova into Europe.
Moldova, one of the poorest nations in Europe, is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. President Maia Sandu has consistently criticized Russia’s involvement in the conflict there. Missile fragments that were fired during the crisis in Ukraine have fallen in Moldova.
Since Sandu gained government in 2020 with a vow to oppose cooperation and move closer to Europe, the nation has received considerable Western support.
In a televised speech, Sandu declared that he wanted to “show the whole world that the citizens of Moldova want peace and democracy in their country and want Moldova to become a part of the European Union.”
Sandu claimed that Moldova, home to 2.5 million people, was at a turning point and that its future depended on communal action.
“I am making this plea because, in crucial situations, people other than politicians make crucial judgments. People make important decisions at Great National Assemblies”, she remarked
“The moment is now for Moldovans to demonstrate our capacity to uphold democracy and the rule of law. We shall demonstrate that this is the course we have chosen in the Great National Assembly on May 21 because we are Europeans”.
Although Igor Dodon, the pro-Russian president she beat in 2020, is still viewed as her only true challenger for the position, Sandu now enjoys a significant advantage in polls. Dodon was chosen on Monday to serve as one of the Socialist Party’s opposition leaders.
Moldova has been a part of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and “Greater Romania” at various points in its history. Although Russian is still widely used, Romanian was declared the country’s official language by its parliament last month.
Large audiences have gathered in the capital Chisinau’s Great National Assembly on numerous occasions, including when the country declared its independence from Soviet rule in 1991.
Like Ukraine, Moldova has formally applied to join the European Union and was granted candidate status in June. However, its constitution outlines a policy of neutrality that prohibits membership in NATO.
30 years after a brief conflict pitting it against the army of the newly established Moldova, the nation is still plagued by the presence of Transnistria, a pro-Russian separatist statelet.
In Transnistria, there are still some 1,500 Russian “peacekeepers,” and the region’s officials claim Ukraine is attempting to remove them. Likewise, Moldova accuses Russia of attempting to undermine its stability.
Sandu’s pro-Western actions have drawn criticism from Moscow, and on Monday Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, condemned NATO’s proposals for stronger cooperation with Moldova. “Let’s hope that there are still political forces in Moldova who can see that a closer relationship with NATO could result in a loss of sovereignty”, stated Zakharova.