According to information from WELT AM SONNTAG, the EU is planning a civilian mission for the Republic of Moldova. The country feels increasingly threatened after Russia's attack on Ukraine and wrote to Brussels on January 28 asking for support.
The European External Action Service (EEAS) is currently working on a so-called crisis management concept, which should be completed this month. In the concept, EAD experts develop proposals for the size, profile and mandate of the planned mission, which then have to be unanimously approved by the governments.
"The will to send a civilian mission to Moldova is clear," said an EU diplomat familiar with the talks. Along with Poland, the Baltic States, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Romania and Denmark, Germany is one of the project's most important supporters. Diplomats expect the new mission to start "in early summer".
As part of the mission, administrative staff from the member countries, primarily from the areas of justice, police and customs, are to advise the ex-Soviet country of Moldova, also known as Moldova, on how to set up an efficient security sector. In addition, the EU wants to send experts to advise the country in the fight against cyber attacks and disinformation.
In addition to a civilian advisory mission, Moldova is also demanding rapid sanctions from the EU against oligarchs loyal to Russia, more air surveillance (jets, radar) and the provision of air defense systems. Moldova's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu made this clear as a guest at the last meeting of EU foreign ministers on February 20.
He urged EU countries to "quickly help to update Moldova's outdated systems". The money for this is said to come from the European Peace Facility (EPF), a financial pot that has been used to finance conflict prevention and international security measures under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) since March 2021.
In Moldova, which has a population of 2.6 million and borders directly on Ukraine, the mood has heated up more and more over the past few weeks. Part of the population is oriented towards the west, another, roughly the same proportion, towards the east. Both sides face each other irreconcilably. Moscow tries to ignite pro-Russian demonstrations.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and suffers from continued migration of Ukrainians from the war zone and intermittent power cuts resulting from the destruction of Ukraine's energy infrastructure by Russian attacks. Both power systems are partly connected to each other.
The government of the Republic of Moldova considers a Russian attack on the country to be realistic. Intelligence chief Alexandru Musteata said as early as late 2022 that it was entirely possible that Russian troops could try to "create a corridor to Transnistria". Transnistria is part of Moldova.
About 500,000 people live there. However, the province has arbitrarily split off from Moldova, it even has its own pro-Russian government, but is not recognized internationally. Around 1,500 Russian soldiers are stationed there.
But what is even more important is that up to 20,000 tons of ammunition belonging to Russia are said to be stored in Transnistria. This would make the breakaway province home to the largest ammunition depot in Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov brought Transnistria back into focus last week. "Of course, the situation in Transnistria is the subject of our greatest attention and a cause for our concern." Peskov accused Ukraine of planning “false flag” operations to attack Russian soldiers in Transnistria. Moldova's government has denied the allegations.