Moldova suffered its worst day on Wednesday since the outbreak of Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine on February 24. The incessant attacks by the Russian army against the energy network of its eastern neighbor have caused the former Soviet republic to lose power at 2:30 p.m. local time, 1:30 p.m. in mainland Spain. “As a result of Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine’s energy system in the last hour, we have massive power outages across the country. moldelectrica [la compañía nacional] is working to restore the connection to electricity,” said Andrei Spînu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, in a message on his Telegram channel.
Mobile phone networks were disconnected and trolleybuses were stranded in the middle of the streets, stranding thousands of people on a rainy day with temperatures close to zero degrees and traffic lights not working. “Russia has left Moldova in the dark,” Moldova’s president, pro-European Maia Sandu, said immediately after learning of the blackout. “The Russian war in Ukraine kills people, destroys homes and energy infrastructure with missiles. Attacks continue in Ukraine. People pull their wounded out of the rubble. And they mourn their deceased loved ones. People’s lives cannot be reversed,” added the head of state. “But the electricity supply can be restored. We will solve the technical problems and we will have light again. All state institutions are working on it,” Sandu continued.
An hour after the start of the cut, some towns recovered electricity, and transportation was restored in the capital. All planned operations by hospitals have been suspended, however, and many drivers have stormed gas stations for fear of running out of fuel. On November 15, Moldova experienced a similar moment, except that power cuts affected half the country and lasted about two hours. On this occasion, the pro-Russian Moldovan enclave of Transnistria has also seen power cuts in its territory, according to reports in the separatist region, where there are around 2,000 Russian soldiers, after it declared itself de facto independent in 1991.
“Again bombing Ukraine and, again, Moldova without electricity. More than 80% of the electricity we receive comes through the line that passes through the Transnistria region and then reaches Chisinau [la capital del país]. When there are bombardments in Ukraine, this line is automatically disconnected and we are left without power,” energy expert Sergiu Tofilat explained to the TV8 television channel.
Moldova is being targeted in a hybrid war waged by Moscow to destabilize the country. In addition to disinformation and the theft of data from high-ranking officials, such as the president or ministers, the Kremlin has used gas to blackmail Chisinau, which is completely dependent on Russian hydrocarbons. “We cannot trust a regime that leaves us in the dark and cold, that intentionally kills people, simply out of a desire to keep other peoples in poverty and humiliation. No matter how difficult it is now, our only path, the path of the future of the Republic of Moldova, must continue to be towards a free world”, the president assured. The Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the Russian ambassador in Chisinau, Oleg Vasnetov, for consultations to express his enormous discomfort at the situation created by the Russian attacks in neighboring Ukraine.
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Russian energy giant Gazprom threatened on Tuesday to cut gas supplies to Moldova, after accusing Ukraine of appropriating part of the gas exported to Moldovan territory. According to the Kremlin’s version, Ukraine illegally seized 52.5 million cubic meters of gas in November that was destined for other countries. kyiv rejected the gas company’s accusations and accused Russia of using energy as a political tool to limit supplies to Europe.
In a context of falling temperatures in Europe -which has increased the demand for gas, especially for heating-, Gazprom announced that it will further reduce the supply to Moldova, up to 56%. ”Gazprom, in a hostile style to which we have become accustomed, threatens us with a further reduction in gas supplies. They accuse Ukraine and Moldova of false claims. To be clear, all the gas delivered to Moldova reaches our country and will be paid for by us,” said Deputy Prime Minister Spînu, who specified that the country has stored more than 200 million cubic meters of gas, a reserve that would allow resist for a month and a half.
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