IDM Director Sebastian Schäffer at DW News on the situation in Transnistria

On 28 February 2024, a congress in the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria asked Moscow for support. A day later, the Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, fuelling speculations over a response or even recognition from the Kremlin. Before the speech, IDM Director Sebastian Schäffer spoke with DW News and stated that he is not very concerned about a possible development on the ground, as this would currently be impossible from a logistical point of view. As the Moldovan President Maia Sandu stated during an interview at a summit held in Albania yesterday, “Moldova is safe today, thanks to the bravery of the Ukrainian soldiers”. If the overall situation changes, this could also have implications for Chișinău. Nevertheless, despite the historic sentiment in Transnistria towards the Soviet Union as well as the Russian language, economic factors should also be taken into account, Schäffer stated. Over the past decade, more goods are exported to the EU than to the Russian Federation. In the medium term, dependency on gas and electricity supply – which is still vital for Moldova coming mainly through the Transnistrian region – will also be alleviated due to countermeasures imposed after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Vigilance is required, but fear of an escalation is still premature according to the IDM Director.