Russia Is Trying to Conquer Moldova From Within

Russia Is Trying to Conquer Moldova From Within
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the head of the Moldovan autonomous region of Gagauzia, Yevgenia Gutsul, outside Sochi, Russia, March 6, 2024 (Sputnik photo by Mikhail Metzel via AP Images).

When the U.S. Congress finally broke its months-long impasse and approved military aid to Ukraine in late April, few countries were watching the vote more closely than Moldova. Many in Ukraine’s tiny neighbor have long believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has his sights set on their country as the next prize once his war against Ukraine comes to an end.

In February, Moldovan President Maia Sandu published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal imploring the U.S. to continue backing Ukraine’s defense. “If supporting Ukraine is expensive, the cost of failing to do so will be much higher,” she warned. Among the costs of that failure could be Moldova’s independence, or at least its pro-Western orientation.

Whether or not the $61 billion package of aid ultimately secured by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden will be sufficient or timely enough to help Ukraine defeat Russia is unclear. Also unknown is whether Putin would actually have his forces roll across Moldova’s border in the event the war in Ukraine ends in a Russian victory. At just half the size of South Carolina, Moldova would in theory be easy for Russia to occupy.

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