The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is seeing itself tested in one key area – how far the Alliance is willing to go to push back against Russia in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, on NATO’s borders.
A country of roughly 3.6 million people, Moldova initially watched Russia’s incursions into and takeover of territory in Moldova’s much larger eastern neighbor, Ukraine, with unease. Since 1992, Russian military units – officially, peacekeepers – have been stationed in Transnistria, a largely Russian-speaking area bordering Ukraine that declared its independence from Moldovan rule in 1990.
The ardently pro-Western Moldovan Defense Minister Anatol Şalaru argues that it is time these troops got out. At NATO’s Warsaw summit on July 9, Şalaru asked for the alliance to back an attempt to bring in “a multinational civil mission” to Transnistria, “while the Russian army and ammunition are evacuated from our territory, in compliance with its international commitments.”
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