Powers come together to pledge urgent support to Moldova as winter approaches

PARIS, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Some 45 countries and institutions are meeting in Paris on Monday to pledge millions of euros in aid to Moldova, amid growing fears it could be further destabilized by the conflict in Ukraine.

Moldova, located between Ukraine and Romania, has felt the effects of rising food and energy prices and thousands of refugees arriving in the country of around 2.5 million people, which hosted more refugees per capita than any other country.

Largely dependent on energy supplies from Russia, Moldova is facing increasing difficulties with the arrival of winter and Moscow is cutting its natural gas supplies by around 40%, which is affecting its capacity. to supply enough electricity to its population.

Moldova is a former part of the Soviet Union, part of whose territory is occupied by Moscow-backed separatists.

Although it has strong historical and linguistic ties with Romania, a neighboring member of the European Union, it depends exclusively on Russian Gazprom for its gas imports.

“Moldova is directly affected because it depends on Russian energy supplies and is a country with part of its territory controlled by Russian soldiers, so it is particularly vulnerable,” a French diplomat told reporters during a briefing. Press.

Donor conferences in Berlin and Bucharest earlier this year saw pledges of 659 million euros ($674.68 million) and 615 million euros, respectively. But officials involved in those conferences said it included repeated pledges, project funding and promises to pump money into the economy rather than direct budget support.

The hope would be to use new aid to support Moldova’s budget and electricity supply as well as to cover the costs of hosting thousands of Ukrainian refugees. ($1 = 0.9768 euros) (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Alexander Smith and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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