U.S. to send more aid as Moldova embraces Ukraine war refugees

by Cristian Florescu

The United States will give Moldova $50 million to help it cope with the impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during a visit to the former Soviet republic on Sunday, writes Reuters

She said the funding would support programs, training and equipment for border management, efforts to counter human trafficking, help to improve accountability and transparency in the justice sector, and combat corruption and cybercrime.

Nearly 400,000 refugees have already fled Ukraine through Moldova, with about a quarter remaining in the country, since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Moscow says it is carrying out a “special military operation” that aims to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure.

The money pledged to Moldova by the United States on Sunday comes on top of $30 million announced last month to assist refugee relief efforts in Moldova over the next six months.

Moldova, sandwiched between Ukraine and European Union member Romania, is one of Europe’s poorest countries and has 2.6 million people. Like Ukraine, it aspires to join the EU.

Around half the Ukrainian refugees in Moldova are children and the rest are mainly women, U.N. and aid groups said.

“You have welcomed them with open arms,” Thomas-Greenfield praised Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita during a news conference on Sunday.

Thomas-Greenfield also toured a warehouse where the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR is storing goods including tents, blankets, sleeping bags and solar lamps in case needed for what UNHCR supply officer, Arben Hajdini, dubbed the “Odesa scenario” of some of the port city’s 1 million residents coming over Moldova’s border for refuge.

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