Fall 2022 – Day Five: Ukraine Mission – Chișinău, Moldova

Leaving at 4:00 AM, our next destination is Chișinău. Moldova is a small country of about 4 million that has absorbed hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Unlike Romania and Hungary, Moldova is not in the European Union and has a much smaller per capital income. It is also struggling with Russia who has occupied (with “peace keepers”) its eastern Transnistria region. One strategic goal of the Russian Ukrainian invasion was to overrun Ukraine’s Baltic coast, linking Russian occupied Crimea, through Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odessa to Transnistria. As of 12-November-22 the Ukrainians successfully forced the Russians to withdraw back east across the Dnipro River.

Upon arrival in Chișinău the team was briefed over lunch by Veaceslav Pituscan, former Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in the USA and John Maxemchuk, Moldovan AmCham President 2006 – 2012. We were presented with the current situation in Moldova and its place in the broader geopolitical context. John’s private sector perspective was valuable as it shows a whole-of-society approach to the humanitarian crisis.

That evening the team met with Kalman Mizsei, European Union High Level Advisor for Confidence Building.

My time with the team had drawn to a close as I was flying out late that night. However the team carried on with meetings over the next few days with Dmitri Lekartsev, President, Ukrainian Refugee Center, Tomas’s Horbowski, Country Director, Solidarity Fund in Moldovia and visits to several refugee camps.

As a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll finish with images of refugees braving an ocean of uncertainties with smiles and determination.