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TOPIC: moldova

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Newborn Killed In Russian “Terror” Strike On Ukrainian Maternity Ward

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia's strike Wednesday on a maternity ward in southern Ukraine that killed a baby born two days ago. The newborn’s mother and a doctor were pulled from the rubble of the hospital in Vilnyansk, located in the Zaporizhzhia region.

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The morning strike was part of what appears to be another day of nationwide air attacks, with sirens and explosions heard around the country early Wednesday afternoon.

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Welcome To Transnistria: A Trip In Time Back To The USSR

The breakaway republic of Transnistria declared its independence 30 years ago, but not even Russia recognizes it as a country. Transnistria is both nostalgic for the Soviet era and prosperous thanks to Russian funds. And a trip there is the closest you can get to visiting the USSR.

“It’s like North Korea here — we can’t leave the country.” Dimitri, around 30 years old, takes a passport out of his pocket. Delivered by Transnistria — a “country” recognized by no state, not even Russia — the document allows him to travel to only two places in the world: South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two Georgian enclaves also claiming their allegiance to the Kremlin. Only one issue: There is no airport in Transnistria, so escaping is only an imagined possibility.

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The young man could ask for a Moldavian passport: After all Transnistria, which borders Ukraine along 450km like a snake, is officially part of the country. But the procedure is long and costly. “The government does not want to give us documents that would allow us to vote. They’re scared of who we would put in power!” He smiles. Here, Moscow fascinates while Europe repels, and Western journalists are banned from staying.

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The Fall Of Severodonetsk

After weeks of raging battles, it appears Severodonetsk is set to fall under full control of Russian forces. The governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from the strategic city in southeastern Ukraine.

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The decision to retreat was made in order to save Ukrainian soldiers: “Nobody abandons our guys, nobody allows the encirclement (of our troops). The situation right now is as such that staying at these destroyed positions just for the sake of being there doesn't make sense,” Haidai said. At least 90% of the city's infrastructure has been destroyed.

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Ukraine In The EU — For A Europe That Is Wider And Deeper

The prospects of Ukraine and other countries joining the EU force Europe to rethink the very basic way it functions. This moment of crisis can be a bonafide opportunity for the European Union, but will require a level of courage and ambition that has been lacking.

-Analysis-

PARIS — The question of whether or not the European Union should offer Ukraine a chance at membership is a false choice: The answer is necessarily "yes." Vladimir Putin’s slaughter, this senseless war at the gates of Europe, forces us to accept what still seemed unthinkable at the start of the year — especially for France, known for its historical resistance to eastward expansion.

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Joining the bloc will require considerable efforts from Kyiv, notably to eradicate corruption. It will also require the withdrawal of Russian troops from its soil, a condition that would also apply to Georgia and Moldova.

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Geopolitics
Anna Akage

Is Odessa Next? Putin Sees A Gateway To Moldova — And Chance For Revenge

After the fall of Mariupol, Vladimir Putin appears to have his eye on another iconic southern coastal city, with a strong identity and strategic location.

Air strikes on the port city of Odessa have become more frequent over the past three weeks, most often hitting residential buildings, shopping malls, and critical infrastructure rather than military targets. The missiles arrive from naval vessels on the Black Sea and across the sea from the nearby Crimean coast, with the toll including multiple civilian deaths and a growing sense of panic. In Odessa, fears are rising that it could follow Mariupol as Vladimir Putin’s next principal target.

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Since the beginning of the war, more than half of the population — about 500,000 people — have left the city, even as others are flowing into Odessa from other war-torn regions in southern Ukraine, where the situation is even worse: people from Nikolayev, Kherson, Crimea, and even from Moldovan Transnistria.

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Geopolitics
Carolina Drüten

'Z' Marks Moldova, Inside Putin's Potential Next Target

An exclusive visit inside Moldova's breakaway pro-Russian republic of Transnistria, which many fear may be the gateway to the next war after Ukraine in the strategically important target.

TIRASPOL — With adhesive tape, one of the demonstrators has pasted a Z on his jacket. “Russia, Russia,” the men and women shout, waving blue-and-white flags. Cars are parked at the side of the road, with the Z emblazoned on their windows – a sign that adorns Russian military vehicles in Ukraine these days.

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Wearing a Z is a blatant way to show that your are on the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his war of aggression against Ukraine.

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Geopolitics
Vladimir Soloviev

Sandu Sweep: Moldova Reformist Revolution May Actually Happen

Last year's election of reformist president Maia Sandu was the first step. But now the anti-graft, pro-Europe forces are about to dominate the Parliament. But what will it look like on the ground?

CHISINAU — Moldovan President Maia Sandu and her Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) are confident that they can turn this week's parliamentary election victory into real reform. Yet for some political players, including former president Igor Dodon, this itself is reason to worry about their fate.

On July 11 it was clear that the results from the parliamentary elections in Moldova held the potential to be truly historic for the Eastern European country. The gap between PAS and all other participants in this parliamentary race was getting larger with every passing hour of ballot counting. According to the preliminary data, the PAS could count as many as 63 seats out of 101, the Communists and Socialists 32, and the Shor Party on 6.

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Russia
Vladimir Kiselev

Moldova Movement Eyes Reunification With Romania (Not Russia)

As parliamentary elections nears, voter frustrations are fueling a campaign in the landlocked, former Soviet republic, to integrate with Romania and the EU.

KISHINEV — Moldovan President Igor Dodon may be all in favor of closer ties to Russia, but many of his countrymen, including the leadership in Sadovo, his hometown, have their hearts set on embracing an altogether different "motherland" — Romania.

Sadovo is one of 108 municipalities, mostly villages, that have expressed an interest in reuniting with their southwestern neighbor. The latest to sign the so-called declaration on reunification is the village of Malkoch, in the Yalovensky region.

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Geopolitics
Vladimir Solovev

The Limits Of Anti-Corruption Protests In Moldova

CHISINAU — The tent city in the center of Moldova"s capital sprung up the evening of Sept. 6, just after a downtown protest had drawn thousands. The demonstrators decided on the spot to stay until they could claim victory; and by nightfall, a few dozen tents had appeared. By the next day there were at least 100.

On a recent day, yet another tent was being set up — and from an unlikely protester. "I worked for the police for 16 years, sometimes even clearing settlements like this," said the man, who did not give his name. "I've tried to go about my business for the past couple months. Now I'm renouncing my duty."

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Geopolitics
Ilya Barabanov and Vladimir Solovev

Russia Flexes Soft Power In Moldova

Gagauzia, a small region in neighboring Moldova, has taken a turn toward economic union with Russia, and away from the EU. Will the whole country follow?

GAGAUZIA — Since the beginning of the year, the small autonomous area of Gagauzia in southern Moldova has become an improbably important focus of Russian foreign policy.

In February, it penned a regional cooperation agreement with Russia's Bibirevo region, which like Gagauzia has about 150,000 residents. Russian television stations all talked about Gagauzia, and federal officials began stressing the importance of working with it. Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin promised to help Russians invest in it, and Federation Council head Valentina Matvienko said she'd work to convince every single Russian region to do business with Gagauzia.

Why all this focus on a single area of Moldova, a small country that borders western Ukraine? Because Gagauzia chose a new pro-Russian leader March 22.

Gagauzia started to take on special importance as the Moldovan elite seems to have given up on the Russian-controlled breakaway enclave of Transnistria. Several different well-placed Moldovan diplomats and officials told Kommersant that they simply didn't believe that Transnistria would ever return to Moldovan sovereignty, and so they could ignore what happens there.

Gagauzia is important to Russia because it can help provide a way to put the brakes on Moldova's drift toward the European Union. Given that goal, Russia wanted to make sure the leader in Gagauzia was pro-Russian, and Russia accomplished that with a well-calibrated application of what we can call "soft power."

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food / travel
Aleksander Zotin

Why The Vodka Nation Is Ripe For Wine

Move the shot glasses aside and make way for some stemware. One expert characterizes the Russian wine market as one of the "most promising in the modern world."

MOSCOW — Around the world, people are drinking less wine, which comes as a surprise to middle-class Russians, who have only just begun to discover its pleasures. But that fact could represent a silver lining for global winemakers, who are looking to Russia as a market ripe for growth.

According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), both production and consumption of wine has been dropping around the world over the past decade. In the 1970s and 1980s, wine production was stable at around 33 billion liters per year, but that has dropped to 28 billion liters a year, with per capita consumption falling even more.

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