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Majority in ex-Soviet state oppose joining NATO – poll

A majority of Moldovans are against their country joining NATO, but are in favor of EU membership, a poll has revealed.

If a referendum on the former Soviet republic becoming a NATO member were held in the coming days, 55.4% would vote against the move, according to a study by the Viitorul Institute for Development and Social Initiatives, published on Wednesday.

The number of people in favor of joining the US-led military bloc currently stands at 28.5%, the poll found. The remainder of those surveyed said they were undecided or would not take part in any such referendum.

  • The picture is different regarding Moldova’s potential EU membership, with 54.5% of respondents supporting the move and 30.5% opposing it, the study stated.
  • According to the poll, 41.5% of Moldovans back the idea of their country joining the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia and former Soviet states such as Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Moldova, a small nation of 2.6 million located between Ukraine and Romania, has taken a distinctly pro-Western course since President Maia Sandu came to power in 2020.

The authorities in Chisinau fully backed Ukraine after the outbreak of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, and last year joined Western sanctions against Moscow.

  • In 2022, Moldova was officially granted candidate status to join the EU. After the European Council opened accession talks with Chisinau in December, Sandu proposed a national referendum on membership in the bloc, potentially in the autumn of this year.
  • The neutral status enshrined in Moldova’s constitution currently prevents it from seeking to join NATO.
  • The military bloc, however, has said it increased support for Chisinau from 2022 to help “build its capabilities and strengthen resilience.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed last autumn that closer ties with the bloc would “help” Moldova on its path towards EU membership.

In February, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin said Moscow was concerned by the increasing cooperation between Moldova and NATO.

  • “The alliance regularly supplies Chisinau with hardware, drones, infantry equipment and lethal weapons,” he stated.

This is being done “under the far-fetched pretext of the ‘Russian threat,’” but the true goal of the West is to draw Moldova into NATO despite its constitutional neutrality, Galuzin argued.

Source: RT