The scenario that the military tensions in Ukraine to expand up to the Republic of Moldova is improbable now. The secretary of state at the Ministry of Defense Valeriu Mija said the developments in Ukraine are monitored constantly in Chisinau and the military risk against the Republic of Moldova is minimal now. The authorities do not intend to increase the number of service members of the Armed Forces, but the army should be outfitted with modern equipment, IPN reports.
In a debate titled “Neutrality of the Republic of Moldova in the context of new geopolitical realities”, the secretary of state said the status of neutrality stipulated in the Constitution does not prevent the Moldovan authorities from offering humanitarian aid to Ukraine. “Currently, the military risk is not high for the Republic of Moldova, but we are obliged to offer assistance to the Ukraine authorities and we can do this only in the social and humanitarian fields. We are not considering the possibility of extending the personnel of the National Army. The personnel remain at 6,500 units plus 2,000 civilian staff members. But the Soviet-type equipment we inherited needs to be replaced,” stated Valeriu Mija.
Military experts noted that Moldova’s neutrality in the context of the security crisis in the region is an element of vulnerability. “The authorities are obliged to strengthen the defense capacities of the country and to ensure the defense system is appropriate. Such states as Sweden and Finland considered it is much less costly to form part of an alliance than to ensure national security at the own expense. The neutrality of the Republic of Moldova is not sufficient to ensure security. We are not sure that this constitutional clause will be respected. We should bank on the idea of increasing institutional resilience and less on this constitutional clause,” said university lecturer Marin Butuc.
Romanian military experts underlined that as Russia ignores all the international law provisions, Moldova’s neutrality becomes dangerous for the whole region. The modernization of the National Army with the financial assistance of foreign partners becomes an imperative of the time. “Romania respects the neutrality status of the Republic of Moldova, but it is fair to note that in the context of the war in Ukraine, this status does not offer the security wanted in Chisinau. The neutrality status was abandoned by Sweden and France consciously as the two states opted for membership in NATO. The Republic of Moldova should also be protected from the logic of demilitarization. The concept of permanent neutrality had content before February 24, 2022, but acquired another perception after the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and became an element of regional vulnerability,” said the Romanian colonel in reserve Ion Petrescu.
In June, the EU Council adopted an assistance measure under the European Peace Facility worth €40 million for the benefit of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Moldova. The assistance measure will strengthen the capacities of the Moldovan Armed Forces’ logistics, mobility, command and control, cyber-defense, unmanned aerial reconnaissance and tactical communications units by providing relevant non-lethal equipment, supplies and services, including equipment-related training.
The debate entitled “Neutrality of the Republic of Moldova in the context of new geopolitical realities” was staged by the Institute for European Policies and Reforms with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.