Two years on: in the face of continued Russian aggression, Moldova is navigating its path towards the West. Op-ed by Iulian Groza


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 prioritizes 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 modernizing 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 US, 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, symbolizes 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 European future, its resilience serves as an inspiration for nations striving to uphold democratic values and principles in the face of adversity.

Iulian Groza is the Executive Director of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE, Chișinău) and former deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova

This op-ed is prepared for IPN as a result of a partnership of IPRE with The Foreign Policy Centre a UK-based international think tank as part of IPRE’s project "ThinkTanks4EUMembership”. The text was first published at https://fpc.org.uk/two-years-on-in-the-face-of-continued-russian-aggression-moldova-is-navigating-its-path-towards-the-west/