President-elect of Moldova Maia Sandu plans to improve relations with Ukraine and considers Crimea a Ukrainian territory.
“We must restore, ‘fix’ relations between our states after their condition over the past four years, during the presidency of Igor Dodon. Unfortunately, my predecessor not only failed to build relations with Ukraine but also, in fact, isolated our state,” Sandu said in an interview with the Yevropeiska Pravda online media outlet.
According to her, there are a number of reasons for improving Moldova-Ukraine relations. First, they are neighbouring countries; second, both countries need active work on rapprochement with the European Union; and third, there are issues on the “bilateral agenda.”
Answering a question about Crimea, the newly elected president called it Ukrainian territory.
“My position has not changed since we talked with you in 2016. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. I respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Crimea. I said this when I was prime minister, and I assure you that I will say exactly the same thing when I become president,” Sandu said.
She also advised Ukraine to take into account Moldova’s experience in the Transnistria region. Despite Chisinau’s consent to a “soft approach” in negotiations with Tiraspol and Russia’s involvement as a “mediator” in the conflict settlement, no significant results have been achieved over 28 years and negotiations are still ongoing.
“We recognized Transnistria as a party to negotiations. We provided the local business the same trade regime as our producers have, in particular, the right to free export to the EU under the Association Agreement. We have signed more than 300 documents on the conflict settlement, etc.… Despite all these steps, we have come up with nothing. It could be useful for Ukraine to take into account our experience when planning its actions regarding Donbas,” said the newly elected leader of Moldovasaid.
On Monday, 16 November, it became known that former prime minister Maia Sandu had won the presidential election in Moldova. In the second round, Sandu garnered 57.75% of the vote.