Romania and Moldova in case of expansion of Russian aggression. Op-Ed by Anatol Taranu



French President Macron also warned about this and in his latest statements sent a trenchant message to the Russians in this regard: “don’t think that we will stop here if you don’t stop...”...


Anatol Țăranu

One of Europe’s most influential leaders, President of France Emmanuel Macron, until the last minute relied on negotiations with Putin to end the war in Ukraine. He even asserted that “Russia should not be humiliated” in the process of seeking a peace solution. But the latest developments in Ukraine prompted the French President to change his view on the war in that country. Appearances speak of Macron’s changing perception of Russian leader Putin, whom he no longer sees as a predictable negotiating partner and who only recognizes the language of force.

A first for a Western leader

As early as late February, Macron surprised public opinion with a statement that made waves both among European states and in Russia. The French President said it was not out of the question that NATO could send troops to Ukraine so that Russia would not win the war. “We are not at war with the Russian people,” the French President said in the same speech at a conference in Paris on February 26, but for the first time evoked not only the goal of preventing Russia from winning the war, but also the need for it to be defeated. “We are convinced that the defeat of Russia is indispensable to security and stability in Europe,” added Macron.

This statement by the President of France is a first for a Western leader, who for the first time mentioned the possible option of sending NATO troops to Ukraine. The first reaction by a number of European leaders to this move by the French President was reserved. However, this French initiative not only broke a taboo imbedded in the Western public sphere, but also came to ascertain, against the background of the advance of Russian troops on the Ukrainian front, the failure of the strategy applied so far by the West, which aimed primarily to avoid escalation. In essence, we are witnessing a calculated action by Macron to initiate the inflection of the Western strategy towards Russia’s war in Ukraine.

... There will be no security in Europe

Regardless of the disapproving reactions of some of the European leaders to his initiative, last week Macron resumed the idea of using the Western troops in Ukraine, especially because the situation on the front has worsened for Ukrainians and the Russian army is advancing and conquering new localities. “I’m not ruling anything out, because we are facing someone who is not ruling anything out. (...) I have a strategic objective: Russia cannot win in Ukraine. If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe. Who can pretend that Russia will stop there? What security will there be for the other neighboring countries, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and the others?” said Macron, being quoted by The Economist.

He said the issue of sending troops would “legitimately” arise if Russia broke through Ukrainian front lines and “Kyiv made such a request” “If the Russians had crossed the front and if there had been a request from Ukraine – and this is not the case now – we would legitimately ask ourselves this question. Therefore, I think that ruling out such a scenario would mean that we have not learned the lessons of the last two years,” explained Macron.

A Russian speaker “caring” for other Russian speakers

The latest developments on the Ukrainian front have provoked a new wave of unrest in the Republic of Moldova, related to a possible advance of the Russian troops towards Odessa in order to continue the Russian belt up to Transnistria and beyond the Nistru. In Chisinau, they remembered the overflowing statements of Russian General Rustam Minnekaev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, who said in spring 2022 that Moscow wants to create a land corridor to the self-proclaimed separatist republic of Transnistria. “The control over southern Ukraine is another path to Transnistria, where there is also evidence that the Russian-speaking population is oppressed,” TASS quoted the bellicose Minnekaev as saying at the time.

So, to justify the military aggression, the Russians as usual invoke the false pretext of defending their citizens beyond Russia’s borders, whose rights are supposedly oppressed. It didn’t occur to the forthright Russian general that he invoked the oppression of the rights of the Russians in Transnistria, which is controlled by a categorically pro-Russian separatist regime, disavowing the false pretext of military aggression in Ukraine and the possible aggression against the Republic of Moldova. But beyond the Russian general’s stupid digressions come the Kremlin’s real plans to reconquer territories that once belonged to the eastern empire. The Republic of Moldova was part of this space until the proclamation of independence and, therefore, is the potential subject of Russian aggression. 

A harsh warning

It is obvious that global players are well aware of the consequences of the Russian army crossing a land corridor to Transnistria, which would lead to the fall of Odessa, a reason for analysis regarding the introduction of foreign troops in the context of defending this port city on the Black Sea. Recently, in an interview for The Economist, the President of France argued that if Ukraine asked for military aid on the ground, the West could not ignore this, otherwise the entire eastern flank from the Baltic countries and Poland to Romania, plus the Republic of Moldova, would be in danger.

Today, about 100,000 U.S. troops are deployed across Europe and about 20,000 of these have been transferred to countries such as Poland and Romania in response to the Russian invasion. Another 40,000 NATO troops are stationed in Eastern Europe in support of security efforts by countries in the Ukraine region. In Romania, the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base, with a capacity of 10,000 troops, after an investment worth €2.5 billion, will become the largest allied military base in the eastern part of the Alliance. The massing of these Western military forces serves as a harsh warning against aggressor Russia, but also guarantees an effective response to a possible deterioration of the Ukrainian front.

Over one million real citizens

The public debates organized by the Ministry of Defense in Bucharest on the draft law that provides for the possibility for Romania to protect its citizens abroad can be seen in close connection with the dangers to the Republic of Moldova. According to Article 4 of this bill, the Romanian government can ask the President of Romania, who is the commander of the army, to order troops to be sent to rescue Romanian citizens in danger abroad. And if we take into account the over one million Romanian citizens in the Republic of Moldova, their defense by Romania, including by the Romanian army, will have legal basis if this law is adopted by Parliament.

Obviously, the future Romanian law cannot fail to take into account Romania’s status as a member of the European Union and a member of NATO, but also the new geopolitical realities. This new legislation cannot be a threat to the Republic of Moldova. In Bucharest nobody plans to invade the Republic of Moldova, but Romania cannot remain indifferent to its citizens settled on the left side of the Prut River. Therefore, Romania’s actions to protect its citizens in the Republic of Moldova cannot fail to be perfectly coordinated and determined as an action with EU and NATO decision-makers.

“We won’t stop if you don’t stop”

According to international analysts, the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine raises fears that in case of victory, Putin will head to Moldova, and if he feels that the “special military operation” is stagnating, he will not hesitate to stir up an interethnic conflict, for example, in Gagauzia, with the aim of destabilizing Moldova and distracting attention from the situation on the front. But the West is no longer tempted to allow Putin’s Russia to endlessly defy international law and state sovereignty.

A number of statements and actions of Western decision-makers lately prove that the Republic of Moldova will not be ceded, even if its defense will require the introduction of military forces from outside. French President Macron also warned about this and in his latest statements sent a trenchant message to the Russians in this regard: “don’t think that we will stop here if you don’t stop.

This was also warned by French President Macron, who in his latest statements sent a trenchant message to the Russians in this regard: “do not think that we will stop here, unless you stop”. Now it remains for Chisinau to be prepared, including at legislative level, to ask the Western partners and, in particular, Romania for help to guarantee its security and even its existence in the face of the danger of Russian aggression.

Anatol Țăranu
doctor of history, political commentator

IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.

Вы используете модуль ADS Blocker .
IPN поддерживается от рекламы.
Поддержи свободную прессу!
Некоторые функции могут быть заблокированы, отключите модуль ADS Blocker .
Спасибо за понимание!
Команда IPN.