Several days ago, the Russia-Ukrainian war entered a new phase that is more dangerous, including for the Republic of Moldova. The experts invited to IPN’s public debate “New phase of Russo-Ukrainian war, new dangers and solutions to security in the region and in the Republic of Moldova” discussed why such a conclusion can be drawn and what can and should be done to divert or diminish the risks deriving from the escalation of the situation.
Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said there is a practically generally accepted opinion that Russia’s war against Ukraine represents military aggression. This is confirmed by official documents adopted by the UN. After Russia invaded Ukraine in the morning of February 24, 2022, an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council was convened. The same day, the UN Secretary General demanded that Russia should stop the hostilities in Ukraine and should withdraw its troops from the territory of Ukraine. The UN Security Council proposed adopting a resolution to condemn Russia’s actions and to call for an immediate halt to the so-called military operation in Ukraine. But Russia, as a permanent member of the Council, vetoed this resolution.
It was later decided to exclude the right of veto and a resolution entitled “Aggression against Ukraine” co-sponsored by 96 countries out of 193 UN member states was ultimately adopted. The vote on the resolution was 141-5 with 35 abstentions. On March 24, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution deploring the dire humanitarian consequences of the hostilities by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. A new resolution adopted on March 27 confirmed the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
As to the perception of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Republic of Moldova, the expert said that over 80% of the citizens inquiry about the developments in the neighboring state. Asked about Russia’s behavior and the so-called military operation, 34% of those surveyed said that Russia actually defends itself and took preventive measures. Another 43% consider that Russia is an aggressor. 24% said Russia is right in the conflict, while 30% said that Ukraine is right. 87% of those polled said the war in Ukraine affected the Republic of Moldova from economic viewpoint.
PAS MP Oazu Nantoi, a member of the Parliament’s commission on national security, defense and public order, said the previous actions also showed that the existence of the independent and sovereign Ukrainian state is inadmissible for the Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a statement issued in March 2014, Russia clearly formulated its position, that Ukraine should be transformed into a pseudo-state that will be geopolitically controlled by Russia and will be a kind of buffer zone between Russia and the rest of the democratic world. It was clear that Russia insisted that Ukraine should follow the Transnistrization path and should accept the Minsk agreements. When it became evident that Ukraine will not follow such a path, the military aggression was launched.
According to the MP, an aggression against Ukraine occurred first in 2014, when Crimea and the territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions were annexed. But the open phase started on February 24, 2022. “It is absolutely clear that initially the Russian Federation, more exactly Vladimir Putin, expected that Ukraine will yield in two-three days, that the people of Ukraine will meet the Russian army with flowers, while Zelensky will flee the country and a puppet like Yanukovych will be named to manage Ukraine and to sign what Vladimir Putin will want,” stated Oazu Nantoi.
The MP noted that on March 24 already, it was clear that Russia’s plan failed, with Russia stating that it didn’t intend to occupy large cities in Ukraine. As a result, the Russian army withdrew from Kiev and Chernigov regions and the liberation of the so-called republics of Donetsk and Luhansk was declared the goal of the war. The situation in Russia worsened and the whole Russian society became hostage to the visions of one person. “In the Russian Federation, an authoritarian, one-man rule was established. There is no rule of law, no counterbalance, no pluralism of opinion, no opposition, possibility of protesting and thinking freely. Everything is suppressed,” stated Oazu Nantoi, noting that Putin now resorted to escalation by organizing so-called referendums in the temporarily occupied territories and by announcing the partial mobilization and to blackmailing with the use of nuclear weapons.
The deputy head of the Party “Dignity and Truth Platform” Kiril Moțpan, ex-chairman of the commission on national security, defense and public order, said that the whole world is now facing an almost imminent danger. “We want to believe that the international community will manage to stop these shocking actions of the Kremlin regime. Why does this happen? To my mind, the regime of Putin is at the dismemberment stage. Russia failed to achieve its initial goal to occupy Ukraine or at least some of its regions with minimal losses, while the international community and most of the civilized states opposed this war. The Kremlin and Putin realized that they are doomed to failure and are therefore looking for new ways to impose their authority,” said Kiril Moțpan.
According to him, the use of the terms “nuclear weapons” by the Russian leader is what generates concern and the whole world is alerted by those statements. Putin wants four referendums so as to impose his regime in a part of Ukraine. “I presume that this is impossible when there is such solid unity around Ukraine involving the President of Ukraine, the international intuitions, the major world leaders,” noted the ex-MP.
He also said that Russia resorted to forced mobilization and the Russian police abuse their authority. Something unordinary happens there as the people are sent to the front by force, as cannon fodder. “The Kremlin regime is in agony. There are clear signals of irrational thinking in the leader and the group of people who support him. It goes not only to Putin, who evidently imposes his authority in a categorical way, but also to the team that represents him and that does not do anything, at least for now, to stop this anarchy. It probably goes also to the mentality of the Russian people, the imperial mentality of Russia. Some experts says that there are two solutions in such a case – a large-scale national revolution in Russian society as what was seen until now were only several elements, and a military coup or military operation by the Russian elite,” stated Kiril Moțpan.
The public debate entitled “New phase of Russo-Ukrainian war, new dangers and solutions to security in the region and in the Republic of Moldova” was the 262th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.