London: Moldova Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita has said she is very worried that Russia will invade her country next, while warning that no country is safe from Russian President Vladimir Putin, media reports said.
Natalia Gavrilita’s warning came after Moscow’s forces made gains in Ukraine’s south and east, near to the Moldova-Ukraine border, in recent months, Daily Mail reported.
Analysts believe that Kremlin is trying to create a land bridge between Russian-occupied territory in eastern Ukraine and Transnistria – an unrecognised breakaway region supported by Russia – in order to cut Ukraine off from the Black Sea, the report said.
Transnistria controls a narrow strip of land that is found mostly between the Dniester river and the Moldovan�Ukrainian border.
It declared independence from Moldova following a brief military conflict in 1992, but is internationally still recognised as being part of the Eastern European country.
“It’s a hypothetical scenario for now, but if the military actions move further into the southwestern part of Ukraine and toward Odessa, then of course we are very worried,” Gavrilita told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday.
“We are very worried, especially considering that troops are on the territory of the secessionist Transnistria region. We are doing everything possible to maintain peace and stability and to ensure that the fighting does not escalate.”
With just 2.5 million people, Moldova is a tiny nation, especially when compared to neighbouring Ukraine which had a population of over 40 million before the Russian invasion began on February 24.
Ukraine’s large size and population has enabled it to put up a fierce resistance against the Russian invaders, surprising many – not least the Kremlin, which expected its forces to seize Kiev in a matter of days.
A country such as Moldova, which is constitutionally neutral and therefore not a member of NATO, would have a much harder time defending itself, Daily Mail reported.