France sees possible Ukraine conflict spreading to neighbors

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France sees possible Ukraine conflict spreading to neighbors

The incidents in Transnistria are seen by the French president as warnings.

Emmanuel Macron, citing recent incidents in Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria, sees the possibility of the Ukraine conflict spreading to neighboring countries.

Macron said that Russia's unacceptable aggression against Ukraine poses a threat to stability for the whole region and especially for Moldova, as well as at a press conference with his Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu on Thursday. Over the last several weeks, Transnistria has reported numerous attacks from drones near its border with Ukraine. The self-proclaimed republic defined the incidents as acts of terror. These incidents show that the spread of conflict to neighboring countries can't be ruled out by Macron's point of view. The French president stressed that his country is closely following the developments in the region and remains fully committed to the stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova. Macron made a statement similar to that of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Last month, the Pentagon chief, commenting on the Transnistria events, said he did not want to see any spillover of the conflict in Ukraine. Russia, whose peacekeeping force has been stationed in the breakaway region since the 1992 armistice froze the conflict with Chisinau, said it was watching the situation very closely. Macron said that Moldova, as Ukraine's neighbor, is facing a particularly difficult humanitarian situation, he praised the country's generosity when it comes to Ukrainian refugees and pledged to work with partners to provide long-term financial support to Chisinau.

Macron also expressed hope that the European Union would quickly issue an opinion on Moldova's membership application, which the country filed with Ukraine and Georgia following the launch of Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

Sandu responded that joining the EU is a long process and that we do not want a shortcut.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to retake the two republics by force.