Moldova ready to destroy Chisinau Airport runway to deter Russian invasion

The authorities of Moldova have been ready to sabotage the runway of Chisinau International Airport since the first days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.  

The plan, meant to curb a potential invasion of Moldova by Russia, was revealed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicu Popescu to the local channel Jurnal TV. 

“In the first days of the war, the rate of advancement of Russian troops in the territory of Ukraine, including in the south of the country, was phenomenal,” Popescu explained in the show Secretele Puterii [Secrets of Power – ed. note]. “It was absolutely clear – and at that stage, those maps also circulated – that Russia was counting on the fact that it would very quickly reach the border of the Republic of Moldova.” 

On March 1, 2022, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko publicly presented a map to his security council showing several Russian attack vectors in Ukraine… and one targeting Moldova. Though the neighboring country was never directly attacked, other marks indicated on the map were targeted by Russia’s armed forces in the following days, likely generating concern for the Moldovan authorities.   

The plan presented by Lukashenko showing an offensive on Moldova (BelTA News Agency / YouTube screenshot) 

Among the feared scenario, Moldova’s government worried that Chisinau International Airport could be taken over by Russian forces and used as a bridgehead to launch an invasion of both Moldova and Ukraine. A similar tactic was attempted during Russia’s initial offensive on Ukraine, with the foiled attempt to take control of Hostomel Airport (GML) located in the vicinity of Kyiv. 

That concern has been apparent to this day. In March 2023, both the recently appointed Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that their respective special services have intelligence about Moscow’s plans to seize Chisinau Airport. 

“These days, there are discussions about the fact that Chisinau International Airport would have been a potential attack target,” Popescu commented. “Our services were preparing for various risks, including regarding the airport. […] The functionality of an airport depends on the capacity of the runway to receive planes.” 

Consequently, Moldovan authorities stay at the ready to either destroy or block the runway of Chisinau airport if needed, Popescu concluded.  

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