WASHINGTON – During a public address at the Atlantic Council during his visit to Washington today, Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca  reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Europe and denounced Russian intimidation in Europe’​s east. 

Atlantic Council Chairman Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. introduced the prime minister, urging action and the strategic importance of what is at stake in the region today.

“Today, we are here for Moldova—to discuss the extraordinary progress that Moldova has achieved, and to consider the challenges that lie ahead for Moldova against the backdrop of Russia’s aggression in the wider region,” said Governor Huntsman. “The events happening as we speak should serve to remind us that there is a need, now more than ever, for an engaged transatlantic community.”

Leanca warned the international community of the dangers that “frozen” conflicts in Crimea and Transnistria can perpetuate throughout an entire region.

“The Transnistria conflict is an unresolved conflict that is especially important in the context of what’s happening in Ukraine,“ said Leanca. “These separatist movements are very contagious. In Crimea, we’re seeing an effort to build another Transnistrian conflict. I’m trying to be optimistic and find a solution with the help of the international community.”

His remarks came at the Atlantic Council following meetings with White House and Congressional leadership.

Other panelists at the event included Swedish Ambassador to the United States Björn Lyrvall; Bertelsmann Foundation Executive Director Annette Heuser; and Freedom House President David Kramer. When prompted by Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson to outline what the West can do in the next forty-eight hours, they replied: 

  • Lyrvall: Definitely put in place a ban on visas for Russian officials behind the Crimea invasion  and sign the EU associationagreements as quickly as possible with  Moldova and Georgia.
  •  Heuser: Freeze financial assets and put in place a visa ban, while sending quick aid to Ukraine. NATO leaders should have an urgent meeting and show a physical presence of the transatlantic alliance on the ground in Kyiv.
  •  Kramer: Get the EU to quickly sign association agreements with Moldova and Georgia because Russia will put these countries through torture in the meantime.
  •  Leanca: The United States and European Union must remain consistent and coherent on policies towards Russia and Moldova.

For full event video, please click here.