Moldova’s president says Putin must be stopped

By Alexander Tanas

CHISINAU (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin must be stopped in his war against Ukraine or all of Europe will pay a much higher price, Moldova’s pro-European president, Maia Sandu, said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Sandu has long denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and singles out the Kremlin as the biggest threat facing her country, which lies between Ukraine and EU member Romania. Russia accuses her of torpedoing good relations and fomenting Russophobia.

“You must understand that Putin will not stop unless he is stopped,” Sandu told the Romania-based media group Veridica.

“And unless he is stopped, the costs will be far higher for all of us. It is Ukraine that is making the greatest sacrifice.”

It was in everyone’s interest, “not just Ukraine and Moldova,” that Ukraine continues to receive assistance, though she made no direct reference to procedural delays in funding from both the United States and European Union.

“I also count on and believe in the solidarity of world democracies, and I hope Ukraine will continue to receive every manner of support it needs,” she told Veridica.

Moldova, she said, was helping all it can, training

engineers and supporting the 80,000 Ukrainian nationals who had sought refuge in her country – the highest proportion to local population in Europe. Half of those refugees are children.

The European Union this month agreed to open membership talks with both Moldova and Ukraine – a long process requiring candidates to upgrade legislation and meet EU standards.

Since defeating her pro-Russian predecessor in 2020, Sandu has led a drive for Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, to join the European mainstream.

She said this week she would seek re-election next year and asked parliament, controlled by her allies from the Party of Action and Solidarity, to organise a referendum to endorse her policies.

(Reporting by Alexander Tanas in Chisinau, Writing by Ron Popeski; Editing by Matthew Lewis)