Moldova’s defense ministry downplayed the risk of the Russian invasion of Ukraine spreading to a separatist region in its country.
The appeal for calm came after a top American intelligence official said that Vladimir Putin would not end the war with the Donbas campaign and was determined to build a land bridge to Russian-controlled territory in Moldova.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on Tuesday painted a grim picture of the next phase of the nearly three-month-old invasion, which she said shows no signs of ending.
The intelligence chief testified that Russia seeks to create a land bridge from Crimea to Trans-Dniester, in neighboring Moldova, but cannot do so without further military mobilization.
Moldova’s defense ministry on Wednesday appealed to Moldovans „not to take the remarks out of context” and said there was no imminent security risk to the landlocked country located between Romania and Ukraine.
„Moldovan authorities are closely cooperating and sharing intelligence with our partners, including the U.S. We are examining all kinds of security scenarios in the region. According to the information we have, there is no risk of the conflict extending to our territory. We have clear plans to prevent any plans to destabilize (us),” the defense ministry said.
It said the „life and public safety” were the government’s main priorities.
Ms Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee that even if Russia is successful in the Donbas, where Moscow is currently concentrating its military efforts, „we are not confident the fight in Donbas will effectively end the war,” she said.
The intelligence community believes that if Russia wants to achieve its maximalist objectives for the conflict, which she said could include building a land bridge around the southern bit of the country to Moldova, it would need to launch a full military mobilization inside Russia, something it has not done so far.
She said that Russia’s refocus on Donbas after failing to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv was likely “only a temporary shift” and assessed that “Putin’s strategic goals have probably not changed.”