In a recent address to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a veiled threat to Moldova, warning that the country's aspirations to join the European Union could put it in danger.
The statement comes amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, which Russia has repeatedly blamed on Western expansionist policies. Lavrov's remarks specifically referred to the Kozak Memorandum, a 2003 proposal aimed at resolving the long-standing dispute between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transnistria.
The memorandum, named after former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, calls for the creation of a single federal state with a high degree of autonomy for Transnistria. However, the Moldovan government ultimately rejected the proposal.
In his OSCE speech, Lavrov accused NATO and the EU of "torpedoing" the Kozak memorandum and argued that Moldova was destined to become the "next victim" in the West's "hybrid war" against Russia. He further asserted that Moldova's desire to join the EU puts the country at risk.
Moldova denies the claims of the Russian Foreign Minister
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova quickly responded to Lavrov's statements, rejecting his claims and confirming the country's commitment to its European integration path.
The ministry also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, characterizing it as a "brutal" act of aggression. The exchange of statements between Russia and Moldova highlights the ongoing tensions in Eastern Europe, especially after the war in Ukraine.
Although Moldova has not formally joined the EU, it has received candidate status and receives significant support from the bloc. Russia, on the other hand, has long opposed Moldova's European aspirations and has maintained a military presence in Transnistria.
Russia's actions in Ukraine have shown its willingness to use military force to assert its influence in the region, and Moldova could become a target if its pro-Western stance is perceived as a threat to Russia's interests.
The outcome of this challenging situation could have significant implications for the wider stability of the region, which is already under the influence of Russian aggression against Ukraine.