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Two years on: in the face of continued Russian aggression, Moldova is navigating its path towards the West

Article by Iulian Groza

February 22, 2024

Two years on: in the face of continued Russian aggression, Moldova is navigating its path towards the West

Two years have elapsed since Russia initiated its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, yet the reverberations persist across the European continent. Moldova, standing among the most affected states after Ukraine, grapples with the enduring repercussions of Russia’s hybrid aggression.


Amidst these challenges, Moldova has showcased a resilient spirit and an unwavering commitment to fortify its defenses, secure its future, and advance on its path to becoming a member of the European Union (EU). The national aspiration, as set by President Maia Sandu, is for Moldova to be prepared to join by 2030.


In April 2023, the EU reaffirmed its support for Moldova by deploying the EU Partnership Mission (EUPM), signaling a robust commitment to bolster the country’s crisis management structures and ability to combat hybrid threats, including cyber warfare and foreign information manipulation. Moldova’s embrace of this collaborative initiative underscores its determination to safeguard its sovereignty in the face of external pressures and fortify its ties with European allies.


The adoption of Moldova’s new National Security Strategy in December 2023 marked a pivotal moment in the country’s security agenda. President Sandu’s vision for Moldova prioritises strengthening democracy, fostering prosperity, and ensuring the protection of all citizens through a modern security sector. Central to this vision is the imperative of building resilience to hybrid threats and modernising Moldova’s armed forces and civil security sector. The strategic partnership with the EU emerges as a cornerstone for comprehensive security enhancement, encompassing economic, energy, cyber, and environmental dimensions.


In 2023, Moldova faced escalating hybrid aggression from Russia, including attempts to undermine the country’s democratic process. Kremlin-backed forces sought to manipulate Moldova’s local elections, prompting decisive action to preserve the integrity of the country’s democratic institutions. The resilience displayed in the face of external interference underscores Moldova’s commitment to upholding democratic values and protecting its national sovereignty.


Supported by the EU, the United States, and other Western allies, Moldova has made significant strides towards economic resilience and energy independence. By reducing its dependency on Russian gas, Moldova has charted a path towards self-reliance and sustainability, mitigating vulnerabilities to external pressures and advancing its integration into European networks.


As Moldova continues on its European path, the forthcoming constitutional referendum initiated by President Sandu will determine the country’s strategic objective of EU accession, solidifying Moldova’s commitment to becoming a member of the EU in the next decade. The overwhelming support for European integration reflects the Moldovan people’s aspirations for prosperity, stability, and security within the European family of nations. The referendum, slated to coincide with presidential elections, symbolises a pivotal moment in securing the country’s future within the Western democratic fold.


Two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moldova stands as a testament to resilience and determination. As Moldova charts a path towards a brighter future, its resilience serves as an inspiration for nations striving to uphold democratic values and principles in the face of adversity.


Iulian Groza is an expert in international relations, European affairs and good governance. He is a former Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Moldova in charge for European integration and international law. Currently, Groza leads the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) – a Moldovan think-tank that aims at supporting Moldova’s accession to the EU. Since 2022, Groza is representing Moldovan civil society in the Supreme Security Council and the National Committee for European Integration chaired by the President of the Republic of Moldova. He holds a University Degree in Law. He also did postgraduate European Studies at Birmingham University and NATO Security Studies at SNSPA in Bucharest. He is fluent in English, Russian and Romanian (native) languages. Groza is a career diplomat and holds a diplomatic rank of Minister-Counsellor. He is also an FCO Chevening Scholar.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not reflect the views of The Foreign Policy Centre.

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