Moldovan Defense Minister Anatolie Nosatii has confirmed that Chisinau has asked its Western partners for air-defense systems, a move which would signal an abandonment of the country’s y’s policy of not seeking to purchase lethal weapons from the West.
Nosatii — who attended the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Ramstein, Germany, last week – said in an interview with RFE/RL that the chances of receiving such a system are not strong at the moment as the top priority of Western allies remains delivering weapons to Ukraine.
„It is not as easy as a country to say, I want this and I want that, and hope that somebody will give it to you,” Nosatii told RFE/RL. However, he said discussions on the issue are „ongoing.”
Moldova’s position on requesting Western weapons has changed following several incidents at its border with Ukraine, where Russian rockets shot down by Ukraine fell on Moldovan territory.
Russian missiles launched from the Black Sea to hit targets in Western Ukraine also fly often over the northeastern part of Moldova.
The former Soviet state, positioned between NATO-member Romania and Ukraine lacks air-defense monitoring systems.
„The war in Ukraine has shown that Moldova’s neutrality status and the discussions about Moldova’s demilitarization are no longer current,” Nosatii told the news organization.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly warned that Moldova’s separatist Trans-Dniester region, which broke away in 1990, could be used as a staging area for Russian operations against Ukraine or Moldova.
Trans-Dniester is a slither of land bordering Ukraine where 1,500 Russian troops remain deployed since before the fall of communism despite Chisinau’s objections.
„The illegal presence of Russian troops in Trans-Dniester clearly demonstrates that the ‘neutrality’ narrative was imposed on us,” Nosatii said.
„Moldova’s leadership has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of these troops, but they are still here, which proves that our ‘neutrality’ is only declarative.”