A donor conference aims to help Moldova cope with the consequences of the war in Ukraine and rising food and energy prices.
Diplomats from some 45 countries and institutions are drumming up money and other support for the poorest country in Europe, Moldaviadealing with massive blackouts, heavy refugee flows and potential security threats the war in neighboring Ukraine.
Monday’s international aid conference in Paris is aimed at “concrete and immediate aid” for the landlocked former Soviet republic, the French foreign ministry said.
Two previous conferences for Moldova this year raised hundreds of millions of euros (hundreds of millions of dollars), but as the war continues, needs are growing.
“This international support is all the more important as Moldova is currently facing an unprecedented energy crisis which, as winter approaches, poses a risk of a humanitarian crisis for the Moldovan population,” the ministry said.
Widespread blackouts temporarily hit more than half a dozen Moldovan cities last week as the Russian military pounded infrastructure targets across Ukraine.
The Soviet-era energy systems of Moldova remain interconnected with those of Ukraine, which is why Russian missile fire caused the automatic closure of a supply line.
$260 million commitment
Earlier this month, the European Union pledged €250 million (nearly $260 million) to help Moldova after Russia cut its natural gas supplies in half.
Moldova’s energy crisis worsened as Transnistria – a Moscow-backed separatist region of Moldova with a major power station – also cut electricity to other parts of the country.
Sharply rising energy costs and skyrocketing inflation will put enormous pressure on consumers in the country of about 2.6 million as the cold season begins.
Moldova relied heavily on Russian energy before the war and is increasingly seeking closer ties with the West.
It became a candidate for EU membership in June, along with Ukraine.
“Moldova has good friends, together with whom we will manage to overcome the dramatic costs of the war on the economy and energy sector,” Nicu Popescu, Moldovan foreign minister, wrote online on Sunday. “Together we bring Moldova to the European Union.”
Maia Sandu, the pro-Western president of Moldova, meets with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, November 21.