On 2 February, TASS reported about an interview of Russian FM Lavrov in which he said that Western countries were looking at Moldova to play the role of the "next Ukraine" because the Moldovan President Maia Sandu, who, according to him was installed by the West, was eager to join NATO. He also criticized Moldova’s refusal to resume activities within the "five plus one" group on Transnistria, saying that this move made it clear that Moldovan authorities "are prepared to resolve the Transnistria issue by force.”
Lavrov continues the pattern of threats issued by Russian officials towards other European states in Russia's neighborhood (but even as far as the Balkans) criticizing their pro-European stance and willingness of these countries to join NATO. It is not the first time for Lavrov to threaten Moldova, he did the same also in September 2022, following the threats towards Lithuania regarding Kaliningrad. Other examples of such threats since the start of the Russian aggression on Ukraine were registered by Russian President Putin, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Medvedev, Russian MFA spokeswoman Zakharova, Minister of Defense Shoigu, and Chechen leader Kadyrov.
This narrative aims at inciting fear among the citizenry of the targeted states by presenting Russia as powerful. The very narrative distorts the facts by diminishing the right of the sovereign countries to freely choose the way they will organize their defense and freely choose whether they will join various international organizations.
This project was funded in part through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementers/authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government.