Moldova is trying to join the EU, but it will have a hard time breaking away from Russia’s orbit

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Publication Date 02/06/2023
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Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, straddles Ukraine to its east and European Union (EU) countries to its west - placing it in an arguably vulnerable position in the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia. But Moldova, a former Soviet republic, is increasingly signaling that it is aligning itself with the European Union.

Mimi Castle, a wine estate southeast of the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, was the site of a June 1, 2023, political meeting of European leaders focused on security and stability in Europe. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who pressed for more Western aid in the fight against Russia, was among the leaders who attended. Moldova’s Western-leaning government has accused Russia of trying to block its entry into the European Union. But a top EU leader said recently that the organization would welcome Moldova with “open arms and open hearts”. One major complicating factor for Moldova, though, is that an eastern section of its territory, Transnistria, has been occupied by Russian troops since 1992.

The author argues in this feature that it is important to understand the reasons Moldova might have a hard time breaking away from Russia’s orbit.

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