On February 10th, following former Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita’s resignation due to a perceived lack of domestic support, Moldova’s government collapsed. Natalia Gavrilita became Prime Minister in August 2021 and persevered through many issues during her tenure. Moldova, formerly part of the Soviet Union, shares an extensive border with Ukraine, leading to difficulties given the current war within Ukraine and the broader region of Eastern Europe.
Gavrilita’s government was pushing a pro-Western and pro-European Union agenda, unpalatable to Russia and its allies. It wished to reduce its energy dependence on Russian oil, as well as integrate itself further into Western trade and alliances. When this agenda was revealed, Russia has put pressure on Moldova by maintaining a force of at least 1,500 soldiers within Transnistria, a separatist region sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine, therefore putting Moldova under threat of an imminent Russian siege. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “Russia had a plan to destroy Moldova,” according to Ukrainian intelligence reports. While it remains unclear what exactly Russia’s plan would entail, it would certainly bring tensions to a fever pitch within Moldova.
As of February 22, 2023, the United States has sent $76.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, of which $46.6 billion was allocated for military purposes. Many suspect that the true Russian goal of their Ukrainian invasion was not only to reclaim ancestral lands but to reestablish Russian power in the region and dissuade Eastern European nations from joining NATO. Thus, to prevent Moldova from either being overtaken internally by a prominent movement of Russian sympathizers or taken militarily by Russia after Ukraine has been successfully invaded, Moldova will need foreign aid. The United States should give financial aid to Moldova to fund its armed services for the defense of a Western bastion in the region. Furthermore, some aid should be given to Moldova to ensure that they will not become dependent on Russia and cheaper prices for energy and other services if their economy goes into dire straits. While this would be a venture that NATO should be very interested in, their lack of financial support to Ukraine would suggest that they are disinclined to give aid. Thus, this effort should be financially supported by both the United States and NATO, but NATO’s history of giving minimal aid indicates that the United States must take a leading role. The subject of giving so much aid to Ukraine is a sore one for those in America, with many thinking that the United States should not take such an interventionist role. While I agree that perhaps the United States has spent too much money in a region so far away, I do believe that the principle of preventing Russian expansion into Europe should stand. Thus, the United States should give financial and military aid to Moldova as a way to both protect Moldova from Russian expansion and Eastern Europe as a whole, but also to ensure that their previously sent funds to Ukraine should not go to waste if the Russian invasion is successful. Ergo, the United States should give financial and military aid to Moldova to prevent Russian expansion into Eastern Europe.