Moldova, a former Soviet republic of 2.6 million people bordering Romania and Ukraine, was granted EU candidate status in the summer of 2022 amidst geopolitical tensions in the region. Russia, which has troops in the breakaway region of Transnistria, has bristled at the possibility of former Soviet republics joining the EU.
On Friday, Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita announced her resignation after nearly a year and a half in office, without the reasons for the decision, which also implies the resignation of the entire Executive. President Maia Sandu thanked Ms Gavrilita for her “enormous sacrifice and efforts to lead the country in a time of so many crises”, and nominated Dorin Recean, a noted pro-EU figure, to replace her. The Moldovan parliament, where Sandu’s party holds a comfortable majority with 63 out of 101 seats, will vote to confirm the nomination next week.
The government was devising reforms to hasten their joining of the 27-nation bloc and striving to diversify their energy supply. However, Moldova was beset by economic and energy turmoils, as well as the spillover effects of Russia’s war in neighbouring Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told EU leaders during Thursday’s European summit in Brussels that Ukraine had intercepted Russian plans to “destroy” Moldova, and Moldovan authorities said that missile debris “from Russia’s air strikes against Ukraine” had been found by border officials.
The Russians amassed arms and ammunition within the carved-out Moldovan territory, and Russian operatives use Transnistria as a base from which to instigate political provocations against Moldova’s elected government. On Monday, President Sandu accused Moscow of plotting to violently overthrow the country’s pro-European leadership with the help of saboteurs disguised as anti-government protesters.
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1. “Moldovan MPs approve pro-western PM amid tensions over Russia” The Guardian, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/16/moldovan-parliament-approves-pro-western-pm-amid-russian-meddling
2. “Moldova's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita resigns” msnNOW, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/moldovas-prime-minister-natalia-gavrilita-resigns/ar-AA17kjue
3. “Moldova's Prime Minister quits as Russia's war rages in neighbouring Ukraine” Evening Standard, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/moldova-prime-minister-resigns-natalia-gavrilita-war-ukraine-russia-putin-b1059445.html
4. “Moldova names new pro-EU prime minister after government falls amid Russian pressure” POLITICO Europe, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/moldova-government-resign-pro-european-union-natalia-gavrilita/
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