NATO maintains a watch on the skies above Moldova while European leaders convene
NATO maintains a watch on the skies above Moldova while European leaders convene

BULBOACA, Moldova, June 1 NATO will keep an eye on the skies above Moldova as more than 40 European leaders gather on Ukraine’s borders to express their support for both countries as Kiev plans a counter-offensive against Russia’s invasion.

The meeting of the EU’s 27 member states and 20 other European nations at a castle deep in Moldovan wine country, only 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Ukrainian border, offers a security and organisational problem for a country of 2.5 million people trapped between Ukraine and NATO member Romania.


NATO Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) surveillance aircraft will fly over the summit site until Friday, according to a statement from the alliance.
Missile debris from Ukraine’s conflict has been discovered multiple times in Moldova since Russia invaded 15 months ago.

“NATO AWACS can detect aircraft, missiles, and drones hundreds of kilometres away, making them an important early warning capability,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.
With Kyiv planning a counteroffensive using freshly obtained Western weaponry to attempt to push out Russian invaders, Ukraine will be a major focus of the meeting.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been invited to the conference.

“The presence of these leaders in our country sends a clear message that Moldova is not alone, and neither is our neighbour Ukraine, which has stood against Russia’s barbaric invasion for a year and three months,” President Maia Sandu told reporters alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The EU also intends to use the meeting to address tensions in northern Kosovo between the governing ethnic Albanian majority and minority Serbs, which have escalated into violence in recent days, leading NATO to deploy 700 extra soldiers there.

EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell said he encouraged Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Slovakia on Wednesday to play a role in defusing the tension and intended to communicate the same message to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Moldova.
“We need to de-escalate. “We have to defuse,” Borrell told reporters in Chisinau on Wednesday evening.

“We have gone too far, and the levels of violence that we witnessed at the start of this week must cease immediately.” Otherwise, the situation might get extremely deadly.”

The conference will also address a number of key concerns, ranging from energy to cybersecurity and migration.

It also gives a chance to discuss other European concerns, such as those between Azerbaijan and Armenia, whose leaders will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and EU officials.

Moldova, like Ukraine, sought to join the EU last year, just after the Russian invasion, and Chisinau intends to use the summit to highlight changes and persuade leaders to begin membership discussions as soon as possible.

Moldova has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other nation, precisely as food and energy costs have skyrocketed as a consequence of the fighting.

The government has accused Russia of attempting to destabilise the mostly Romanian-speaking nation via its support over the separatist movement in its primarily Russian-speaking breakaway Transdniestria area.



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