At the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukraine appealed to Moldova with a request to sell or hand over six MiG-29 aircraft, inherited by Moldova after the collapse of the USSR, but Moldova categorically refused to provide these planes, reports the Ukrainian newspaper Evropeyska Pravda.
Sources of the newspaper claim that Moldovan authorities explained the refusal by the fact that they do not want to "irritate Russia", and the fear that the actions of the Moldovan authorities will be viewed as inconsistent with the principle of Moldova’s neutrality.
At the end of the first week of the war, Moldova's Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Nicu Popescu, said that Chisinau would not join the new Western sanctions against Moscow and would continue to adhere to the position taken back in 2014.
"Decisions on the imposition of sanctions against the Russian Federation are not easy decisions. These decisions are also difficult for much more powerful, much more prosperous countries that have more alternatives for the functioning of their economy than Moldova," Popescu said.
According to the minister, Chisinau made the decision after a meeting between the State Secretary of the Moldovan Foreign Ministry and the Russian Ambassador to Moldova. The meeting took place after the Russian invasion into the territory of Ukraine.
"There are many reasons, including the fact that our society, our economy, our energy system is too vulnerable to burden Moldova with such expensive positions," Nicu Popescu explained, acknowledging that disagreements remain between Chisinau and Moscow over the events in Ukraine.
"We, as a state, maintain our position on the actions of the Russian Federation at the diplomatic and negotiating level," the minister stressed.
On February 24, the Moldovan Parliament introduced a state of emergency for 60 days due to the events in Ukraine.
The Moldovan Air Force has six MiG-29 fighter jets. Moldova has been trying to sell them for a long time but cannot find buyers. The aircraft are now undergoing technical inspection in Belarus.
Earlier, the Pentagon rejected Warsaw's proposal to transfer to Ukraine MiG-29 fighters belonging to Poland through the United States.
The Press Secretary for the United States Department of Defense, John Kirby, explained the refusal by the fact that providing these MiG-29 fighter jets through the United States "causes serious concern for the entire NATO”.
"We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland's proposal is a tenable one," Kirby said in a statement.