Air Defense and Energy Cooperation Between Moldova and Ukraine

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On December 6, 2022, Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilitsa made an official visit to Kiev. During the visit, Gavrilitsa said, “Moldova will continue to be a friend and partner of Ukraine. Moldova will support Kiev with everything it can.”[1] Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal, who met with Gavrilitsa, announced that a joint working group was formed with Moldova to coordinate the European Union (EU) accession process. In his statement on the subject, Shmigal said:[2]

We are introducing the dialogue format in the Ukraine-Moldova-Romania triangle. To this end, we will hold a meeting with the heads of government of the three countries in 2023. We are establishing a bilateral working group to coordinate the integration of Ukraine and Moldova into the EU. We are ready to provide comprehensive expert support to our Moldovan partners so that Moldova can successfully implement the recommendations of the European Commission.”

Also, according to Shmigal, Kyiv and Chisinau agreed to cooperate on air defense, improve border control and continue dialogue on peace and security issues in Moldova’s Transnistria region. Other agreements include the preparation of an agreement between Ukraine and Moldova to remove barriers to the movement of people and goods, and to prepare an agreement to build a road bridge across the Dniester at the common border before mid-2023.[3]

As a matter of fact, Moldpress agency noted that the Prime Ministers of the two countries agreed to cooperate on air defense issues, improve border control, and maintain cooperation and dialogue in order to maintain peace and security in the Transnistria region. In addition, the agency announced that Gavrilitsa and Shmigal want to deepen their bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, economy, transport and infrastructure.[4]

On December 5, 2022, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that the country is facing a “dramatic energy crisis” this winter due to Russia’s war against Ukraine.[5] The reason for this was because Russia’s Gazprom shut off Moldova’s gas supplies. In addition, Moldova’s electricity imports from Ukraine are now at risk, following repeated Russian attacks on Ukrainian power plants.

Moldova supplied 30% of its electricity needs through Ukraine and 70% from a thermal power plant in Transnistria, a separatist region in the east of the country. However, it is stated that the Transnistria administration has cut this electrical energy. Therefore, Moldova announced that it would transfer 5.7 million cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Transnistria, and in a sense tried to reach an agreement over natural gas in exchange for electricity.[6] At this point, it can be said that Transnistria puts Moldova’s energy security at risk. The fact that this region displays an attitude against the Chisinau administration causes an increase in the views that the Moldovan Government can display a more radical attitude.

In addition, as of December 5, 2022, Romania started to supply natural gas to its neighbor Moldova, which had an energy crisis during the Russian occupation of Ukraine. Romania and Moldova built a pipeline in 2014 to import gas from Bucharest and reduce dependency on supplies from Russia. However, this line was not used for a long time. Moldova connected the pipelines in 2019 to supply natural gas to the capital Chisinau. Compressor stations for natural gas pumping were commissioned in 2021.

The Ukrainian War and the negative impact of this war on the defense security and energy security of Moldova brought Chisinau even closer to Kiev. Problems in the energy sector necessitate the development of new solutions. Since Moldova is a small country, it can be stated that the support Ukraine will provide under these conditions is important for Chisinau. The further development of cooperation on energy security coincides with the concept of Ukraine-Moldova-EU integration.

The same goes for security. With the cooperation made through Romania, a security system is being built between Ukraine-Moldova-Romania (could also be referred to as EU). Moldova is becoming part of the initiative to restructure the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and integrate transport lines into security needs. In other words, Moldova is integrated into the alliance without being a NATO member, just like Ukraine. Cooperation between Ukraine and Moldova in the field of air defense and the integration of air defense systems will make Moldova one of Ukraine’s closest allies in the field of defense. Thus, the influence of Kiev on Moldova will increase even more.

As a result, Moldova is developing collaborations that will further increase its energy security and defense power. Undoubtedly, the security-based relations with Ukraine and Romania will also affect the decisions that Chisinau will take regarding the Transnistria region in the future. Because Moldova, whose dependence on Russia has decreased, will care less about Moscow’s sensitivities.

[1] “Премьер Молдовы прибыла в Киев, посетила Бучу и Ирпень”, Evropeyskaya Pravda,, (Date of Accession: 9.12.2022).

[2] “Украина и Молдова договорились сотрудничать в отношении ПВО — Шмыгаль”, Hromadske,, (Date of Accession: 9.12.2022).

[3] “Премьеры Украины и Молдавии договорились сотрудничать в сфере ПВО”, Gazeta.Ru,, (Date of Accession: 8.12.2022).

[4] “Премьер Молдовы встретилась с украинским коллегой”, Moldpress,, (Date of Accession: 8.12.2022).

[5] “Румыния начала экспорт газа в Молдову, борющуюся с энергетическим кризисом”, Hromadske,, (Date of Accession: 9.12.2022).

[6] “Спыну считает, что Молдавия не должна перекрывать газ Приднестровью, где живут ее граждане”, Taas,, (Date of Accession: 8.12.2022).

Lisans öğrenimini Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler bölümünde tamamlayan Dr. Sabir Askeroğlu, yüksek lisans derecesini Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda almıştır. Doktora eğitimini İstanbul Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Siyaset Bilimi ve Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda tamamlayan Dr. Askeroğlu, çeşitli düşünce kuruluşlarında görev yapmıştır. Başlıca ilgi alanları, Avrasya çalışmaları ve Rus dış politikası olan Dr. Askeroğlu, iyi derecede Rusça ve İngilizce bilmektedir.