War against Ukraine: how endangered is Moldova?

During a major air strike on Ukraine on Monday, parts of a Russian missile crashed into a village near the border in the north of the Republic of Moldova after being shot down by Ukrainian air defences. Romanian commentators note with concern that the small country could hardly hold its own in an emergency.

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Deutsche Welle (RO) /

Completely defenceless

The Republic of Moldova's national defence is barely worthy of the name, notes Deutsche Welle's Romanian Service:

“Despite the war on its border, the Republic of Moldova has no defence system and no missile defence shield. The last anti-aircraft missile complexes were sold to a British company in 2017 under dubious circumstances. ... Chișinău sold the US 21 MIG fighters it inherited when the USSR collapsed back in 1997. It has six MIGs left, but they can't take off because some components have been dismantled and sold off in the corrupt dealings of former state dignitaries.”

RFI România (RO) /

Neutrality a disadvantage

The small country also lacks international security guarantees, RFI România explains:

“At the regional level, the situation has been further aggravated by Russian bombardments of Ukraine's critical infrastructure and by Moscow's [temporary] withdrawal from the grain agreement. ... There were no casualties [in the missile crash], but the incident shows how vulnerable Moldova is, which borders the conflict zone. It is a neutral state according to its own constitution, but this neutrality - between the West and Russia - now leaves the country without tangible security guarantees.”