The likelihood of a Russian military invasion of Moldova is extremely low, says the head of the Moldovan non-governmental organization WatchDog, political scientist Valeriu Pasha. In an interview with The Insider, he also said that journalists misinterpreted the words of Prime Minister Dorin Recean about Moscow's alleged plans to seize the Chisinau airport.
“The Prime Minister of Moldova did not say that there are any risks of capturing Chisinau International Airport in a military sense. He was asked about the approval of one of the Ukrainian officials, and he said that there are different scenarios that we are considering and working to prevent them. <...> This is a normal situation when different risks are considered - and this is one of them. This does not mean that we have received clear information about the capture of the airport.”
Moldovan media wrote that President Vladimir Zelensky, in an interview with La Republica, spoke about Moscow's plans to seize the Chisinau airport in order to transfer the military and equipment to the left bank of the Dniester and thus open a new front in Ukraine.
“There is no such serious threat, because Russia does not have the technical capability. The only theoretical possibility is an air assault or an assault landing on the coast of the Odessa region of Ukraine with an advance to the territory of Moldova. Neither scenario seems feasible to me. If there are still undead paratroopers in Russia who definitely want to die, then they can try, but they are unlikely to reach Moldova, because they will be shot down by Ukrainian air defenses. Even if they manage to fly, it is unlikely that this will be a critical mass capable of capturing the whole of Moldova and holding it.”
“The worst scenario is if Russia manages to develop its offensive in the south of Ukraine, cross the Dnieper again and capture the Nikolaev and Odessa regions. Then we will be able to talk about a direct military threat to Moldova. <...> If we talk about military logic, then in order to be able to capture Moldova, they must first seriously advance in Ukraine. <...> If they can advance, they will most likely want to completely isolate Odessa, and then for military purposes they can take into account the seizure of the territory of Moldova in order to block the supply routes to Odessa. But we are talking about very unlikely scenarios, given the course of the war.”
On February 21, Vladimir Putin canceled the 2012 “May Decree” “On measures to implement the foreign policy of the Russian Federation”, which, among other things, spoke of “search for ways to solve the Transnistrian problem based on respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and neutral status of the Republic of Moldova.” There is a Russian military contingent in Transnistria.
“This threat is quite serious, but not critical, because the capabilities of this contingent, like the Pridnestrovian army, are severely limited. There is no any serious grouping of military equipment, and artillery. <...> The scenario that the group present there will attack the territory of Ukraine was considered at the beginning of the aggression. If the Russian troops had succeeded in developing an offensive towards the border of Moldova, most likely, this would have happened, but at this stage, this Pridnestrovian group is not capable of opposing the military forces of Ukraine with anything serious. And the Russian command is also unlikely to agree to this. So these are rather theoretical calculations and more a product of the imagination of Russian propaganda, which is intensively promoting this for consumption in the domestic market of Russia.”
“I think Russia sees Moldova, like the rest of the countries that gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as a target for capture, a kind of restoration of the empire. <...> Russia is trying to seize control of the country not by military means, that is, by hybrid intervention. To do this, they use their proxy agents in Moldova - political parties, activists and other agents of influence. Here we already see the clear work of the Russian special services with their allies in Moldova, who are trying to achieve the removal of the government by creating a difficult economic situation, to achieve early elections by stuffing information, and so on.”