Former Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici believes the republic should invest in education rather than weapons.

If Russia takes Odessa, then it will connect the territory with Transdniestria

Фото заседания совбеза Беларуси с картой военных действий в Украине, на которой одна из стрелок ведет от Одессы к Приднестровью. 1 марта 2022

Former Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici believes that the republic should invest in education rather than weapons.

He expressed this view in an interview with, reports.

A few years ago, on Moldova’s Independence Day, government leaders and diplomats from around the world watched a military parade in the former Soviet capital of Chisinau.

After a handful of tanks drove by, a Russian diplomat cracked a sarcastic joke.

– ‘Strange,’ he said. – Where is the fifth?

Chiril Gaburici, Moldova’s former prime minister, was there that day. Reflecting on the joke about the limited size of his country’s armed forces, he said it highlighted how vulnerable the nation is.

“It contains everything you need to know about our army. It is better for my country to invest in education,” he told Nikkei Asia on the sidelines of the Eurasian Economic Summit in Turkey on June 9.

Moldova’s security lies in joining the European Union as soon as possible, he said, rather than seeking NATO membership, which he said would cause serious repercussions from Russia.

Similarly, he doubts the usefulness of Moldova receiving weapons from the West, preferring a more neutral stance.

“When I was prime minister in 2015, I tried to convince my defence minister to reduce defence spending,” Gaburici said. “Moldova cannot defend itself. We have very little military equipment. Some of the samples we have are very outdated. It would be better if these resources were invested in education or infrastructure.”

Gaburici briefly served as prime minister in 2015 and as minister of economy and infrastructure in 2018 and 2019. Moldova is an agricultural country, he said, noting that the country uses the port of Odessa to export “fruit, vegetables, grapes, wine and grain”.

“There is a risk that Russia will take Odessa, then they can connect the territory with Transnistria,” Gaburici said.

Such trade is becoming increasingly difficult because of Russia’s naval blockade, and because of the sea mines set up by Ukrainian troops to protect against Russian attack on the city.

“We do not control the Transnistrian region and we do not know what is happening there,” he said. “We must not provoke anyone as we are very close to the epicentre of action.”

Asked whether Moldova would be next if Russia succeeds in Ukraine, Gaburici said, “I cannot say yes, but I cannot say no either.”

“I am very concerned and very worried about my children, my family, my parents. We live with our bags ready in case something happens, unfortunately.”

Gaburic said he believed the war in Ukraine could have been avoided if both sides had compromised, adding that EU membership would have been better for Ukraine than NATO membership.