As Russian troops wage war in Ukraine, neighboring Moldova receives refugees. People are also worried about a Russian invasion here.
When Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine, Alexandru Sunița decided to keep his money safe. Now, a few days after the start of the war, he is standing in front of a minibus at the southern bus station in Chişinău, the capital of the republic. moldova. The right pocket of her jeans is bulging. “Money is safer in Romania,” she says, fumbling for the bundle: €9,900 in fifty-euro bills. Savings from his job as a truck driver, savings from his parents, his wife and his emergency plan.
Sunița takes the money out of Moldova, takes it to the EU, to NATO, as he says. He fears that Russian troops may soon be in Odessa, Ukraine. And Odessa is a stone’s throw from Transnistria, the Russian-backed autonomous province in eastern Moldova. If the Russian army came, says Sunița, his country would be lost. “Putin will not stop at Ukraine. Perhaps we are a delicious dessert for him.”
Moldova, the small country between Romania and the Ukrainewhich asked to be admitted to the EU last week in the face of the Russian invasion of the neighboring country, is closer to the scenes of Russian attacks than any other European country after Belarus: Kiev is 400 kilometers as the bird flies from the capital Chişinău to It is less than 300 kilometers to the Ukrainian Cherson, which is now occupied by Russian troops.
but also to Russia Close ties exist in different parts of Moldova, not only geographically but also socially. This is particularly pronounced in Transnistria, which is actually part of Moldova. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the long province in the east of the republic declared itself independent. Russia intervened militarily in 1992 and decided the dispute in favor of secession. Although the province has not yet been recognized as independent by any country in the world, Transnistria has been acting autonomously ever since: with a population of almost half a million people, with its own currency, and with its own army, which is supported by Russia. . About 1,500 Russian soldiers are stationed in Transnistria, and a large stockpile of Soviet-era weapons.
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