Two of Russia’s closest trade partners, Belarus and Kazakhstan, have declined to join Russia in trade sanctions against Moldova, and recently Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Natalia Gherman stated her country’s appreciation of Belarus and Kazakhstan for their decisions not to join Russia in sanctions.

The minister made her comments in an interview with Europe Libera. The minister also announced Wednesday that Moldova will participate in September’s NATO summit for the first time.

cis map“It is an important event for Moldova,” said Gherman. “This year, through its armed contingent in the International Force Mission in Kosovo (KFOR), Moldova contributed to the successful implementation of the North Atlantic Alliance missions to maintain security and stability on the European continent. Moldova is not only a consumer of security in this European zone, but also a country that contributes to security strengthening. Thanks to this, we are firstly invited to the summit of the Alliance.”

Some analysts have noted a possible trend in the decisions of Belarus and Kazakhstan. Belarus and Kazakhstan also declined to support Moscow when the US imposed sanctions against Russia several times this year.

Belarus also recently suggested postponing the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEC), stating that Russia and Kazakhstan were not ready for it. Kazakhstan has expressed concern that the absence of Ukraine and Moldova in the EEC reduces its value to Kazakhstan.

Russia imposed customs duties on Moldova last September in retaliation for Moldovan rapprochement with the EU, following up on previous threats to the same effect. Moscow justified a time-unlimited ban on Moldovan alcohol by a discovery of harmful chemicals in Moldovan products.

Within the Russian Customs Union, decisions are supposedly taken by consensus, but Russia’s actions regarding Moldova seem to show that Russia is acting when there is no consensus, analysts have noted.

Georgia left the CIS in 2009, Ukraine is currently in the process of leaving, and Moldova has announced its intention to reevaluate its membership. All three are moving towards closer EU relations.

By Day Blakely Donaldson