US pledges €124 million in aid to Moldova to counter Russian influence

US secretary of state Antony Blinken pledged €124 million in aid to Moldova for energy security and to counter Russian disinformation on Wednesday.

Blinken opened a short visit to eastern Europe with a stop in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, where he announced the assistance at a news conference with president Maia Sandu.

America’s top diplomat said €78 million would go to bolster energy infrastructure and €46 million was aimed at overhauling the energy and farming industries and deterring disinformation.

“That in turn will bolster the ability of Moldovans to resist Russian interference, to hold free and fair elections, to continue down the path to the European Union and Western integration, to create more economic opportunity,” Blinken said.

“One of the other things that’s so important is sharing information about disinformation and misinformation, which is one of the most potent hybrid tools that Russia uses — and that’s something that we are doing.”

Before Wednesday’s announced aid, the US had provided Moldova with €716 million in financial aid since the Ukraine war began in February 2022. Some €277 million of that was earmarked for energy security.

Moldova, with about 2.5 million people, used to be entirely dependent on Russia for its natural gas supplies. It faced an acute energy crisis after Moscow dramatically reduced supplies in the winter of 2022.

Moldova’s energy woes worsened that year after it suffered temporary blackouts because its Soviet-era energy systems remained connected with Ukraine’s, which were being hit hard by Russia’s military.

Sandu thanked the US on Wednesday for its financial support, which she said has helped Moldova broaden its energy sources and bolster its economy.

“We managed to strengthen our energy security from a total dependence on the Russian power resources,” she said. “Today, we source natural gas from several sources including the ones of the United States.”

Moldova has repeatedly accused Russia of conducting a “hybrid war” against the country, meddling in local elections and running vast disinformation campaigns to try to topple the government and derail its path toward joining the EU.

“Russia is trying to undermine Moldova, undermine its democratic institutions, undermining its ability to make decisions about its own future using a whole variety of hybrid means,” Blinken said.

“I think Moldova has done a remarkable job in countering many of those attacks.”

AdvertisementThe new Emirates Premium Economy has arrived on the latest Emirates A380 Emirates Get the best value from your summer holiday with exclusive offers and discounts across Dubai and the UAE with Emirates Pass