With eye on war in Ukraine, Moldova celebrates Independence Day

Moldova celebrated its 31st Independence Day on Saturday, mindful of Russia’s brutal war in neighboring Ukraine, amid fears that their small country could be next.

Cherishing freedoms

Moldova’s pro-Western President Maia Sandu quoted children’s letters on what home means to them, a poignant way of marking the anniversary and cherishing freedoms.

“When I can go to school and not hide from the bombs”,  said one letter. “When mum braids my hair before going to school,” another wrote.

Russia’s unjust war against Ukraine clearly shows us the price of freedom,” she told a crowd on Saturday at the Great National Assembly Square in the capital, Chisinau.

„The war will end, and we will be able to get out of these crises stronger, more resilient,” she said, speaking alongside Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita.

Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu earlier said: “As we celebrate, let us not forget that our freedom is not a gift and not a given. It was earned the hard way and must be protected every day. It is this shared responsibility for freedom and peace that guides us on the EU path.”

In June, Moldova  got EU candidate status, but full-scale reforms are slowed from the economic fallout from the war next door.


“The war in Ukraine has taken its toll on Europe’s poorest country, “ the European Commission said on Saturday. “Throughout these dire times Moldova has firmly stood by Ukraine, hosting refugees and facilitating much needed grain exports.”

Moldova is 100 percent dependent on Russian gas, and has an inflation rate approaching 35 percent.

The government revised its 2022 economic growth forecast to zero from the previous 0.3% on Aug. 24, citing the negative impact of the war in neighboring Ukraine and rising global energy prices, Reuters reported.


Moldova which enjoys the support of the U.S and the European Union as it seeks closer ties with the West, is a target for Russian influence and disinformation in a country where one-fourth of its inhabitants are native Russian speakers.

The EU Disinformation department acknowledged the challenges in its message to the country of 3 million on Saturday.

“We celebrate the Independence Day of Moldova. For years the Kremlin used disinformation to sow fears of losing this freedom. Yet, the Moldovan resilience and commitment to independence prevails,” it tweeted.


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Moldovans calling this year’s Independence Day “especially significant as Moldova demonstrates its strength and resilience in welcoming and supporting hundreds of thousands of refugees forced to flee Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

“Moldova has shown the world it is a small country with a big heart,” he said.

“The United States stands with the people of Moldova in your efforts to protect your sovereignty and territorial integrity and to resist foreign influence from actors seeking to interfere with Moldova’s European integration,” the statement said.


Romanian President Klaus Iohannis congratulated Moldovans and said „Romania will continue to be Moldova’s most important supporter „of its citizens and European integration– the only option for a prosperous and democratic future.”

Moldova was part of Romania until 1940 when it was annexed to the Soviet Union as part of a Nazi-Soviet pact.

Moldova declared independence on Aug. 27, 1991 as the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

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