Moldova not planning to discuss possible NATO accession
Moldovan Parliament President says there was no local debate about seeking membership in NATO.
Moldovan Parliament President Igor Grosu said on Sunday there was no local debate about whether or not to seek membership in NATO, even though the president and the government had earlier statements calling for abandoning neutrality and joining a military alliance.
"Frankly speaking, when asked whether we want this, whether the issue of Moldova possibly joining NATO is raised, I will say that there is no such issue. [I say this] to reject all the speculation and hysteria. The hypocrisy is that the separatist authorities on the left bank of the Dniester river are much better equipped than our national army," Grosu told Moldovan broadcaster Prime, referring to breakaway Transnistria, a separatist province with a Russian and Ukrainian majority, where Russian troops are stationed at the request of local authorities.
Transnistria had access to Cobasna's weapons depot, which is located on the border with Ukraine and is one of the largest in Europe, Grosu added.
In January, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that the country should abandon neutrality to be admitted to military alliances. While NATO was not specifically mentioned, she had repeatedly said that if Moldovans decide they want rapprochement with NATO, the neutrality clause of the constitution could be revised. The defense ministry backed her position that the country needs military reinforcement.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested in 2019 to create of a joint task force to remove the ammunition from the Cobasna warehouse, using Russian soldiers located in the breakaway region, but Chisinau did not support the initiative.
Since the late 1980s, Transnistria has been seeking to secede from Moldova, out of concerns that Moldova might seek a merger with Romania on a wave of the nationalist movement.
In 1992, Transnistria became a territory de facto, not controlled by Chisinau, after a military conflict that lasted for 2 years.
Moldova Prime Minister announces resignation
Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita announced her resignation earlier in February after gathering her ministers for a meeting whose agenda was not announced.
According to the premier, the government of Moldova "enjoyed support from international partners" but did not receive similar support from the Moldovan people.
The Moldovan government has been facing public outrage for months now as there is popular dissatisfaction toward the pro-Western government.
The people have been taking to the streets in the thousands to protest the government, with the country witnessing a wave of thousands protesting high inflation and fuel costs outside Moldova's government in the ex-Soviet state's main square in Chisinau, as they demanded pro-Western President Maia Sandu and her government to resign.
Sandu has repeatedly denounced Russia's actions in Ukraine and is pushing for membership in the European Union. Her critics argue that she should have negotiated a better gas agreement with Russia, Moldova's main supplier.
Read: EU approves candidacy status for Ukraine, Moldova
Moreover, a poll conducted in October by Moldovan data analysis company Date Inteligente (iData) found that more than 50% of Moldovans believed their government was leading the country in the wrong direction.