For the first time in contemporary history, Moldova is going to buy lethal weapons under NATO standards. According to Defense Minister Eugeniu Sturza, re-arming the National Armed Forces that costs 11 mn euro became possible thanks to assistance of the country’s strategic partners. “The main decision was made in Washington, the money comes from the USA as well,” Sturza said.
Within next three years, the Moldovan army will be brought into correspondence with the requirements of the NATO. Simultaneously, it is expected that Moldovan troops will take more active participation in NATO international drills.
On this background, statements by President Igor Dodon on the neutral status of Moldova and its non-participation in any military alliances sound unconvincing.
According to Director of the Institute for Diplomatic, Political Studies and Security Issues Valeriu Ostalep, now, none of Moldova’s neighbors is a potential enemy against whom the Moldovan army could use lethal weapons. “This also concerns Transnistria and Russia,” he said.
“If, theoretically, we speak of a potential conflict, be it local or a small one, connected with Transnistria, no army will help here. Russia is not an enemy for us; it would certainly be foolish to believe that Russia or Transnistria can be our opponents in a military conflict,” Ostalep siad.
“If someone had in theory any military interests in Moldova, this military task would be fulfilled immediately. It is nonsense to believe that Moldova can be fighting with anyone,” the expert concluded.
Now, NATO is not playing any public official role in the Transnistrian conflict settlement, However, they in Brussels do believe that Moscow should withdraw its troops and weaponry from the region. The OSCE also supports claims by Chisinau; the organization is a guarantor mediator in the conflict settlement process.
Moldova has been cooperating with NATO under an IPAP since 1994. Since 2009, the National Army organizes Moldovan-American Joint Combined Exchange Training. In 2017, NATO information center started functioning in Chisinau; NATO experts are rendering assistance in drafting and introducing the national defense strategy of Moldova. According to Brussels, Moldovan troops have become closer to functional compatibility with NATO forces.