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Aid sought for Moldova, hit hard by war in next-door Ukraine

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PARIS (AP) — Diplomats are drumming up money and other support Monday for Europe’s poorest country, Moldova, which is suffering massive blackouts, heavy refugee flows and potential security threats from the war in neighboring Ukraine.

Monday’s international aid conference in Paris is aimed at “concrete and immediate assistance” for the land-locked former Soviet republic, according to the French Foreign Ministry. Two previous conferences for Moldova this year raised hundreds of millions of euros, but as the war drags on, its needs are growing.

“This international support is all the more important as Moldova is currently facing an unprecedented energy crisis which, with the approach of winter, poses a risk of a humanitarian crisis for the Moldovan population,” the ministry said.

Broad blackouts temporarily hit more than a half-dozen cities across Moldova last week as the Russian military pounded infrastructure targets across Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the European Union pledged 250 million euros (nearly $260 million) to help Moldova after Russia halved its natural gas supply.

Moldova relied heavily on Russian energy before the war, and has increasingly been looking to forge closer ties with the West. It became a candidate for EU membership in June, along with Ukraine.

Moldova’s pro-Western president, Maia Sandu, is meeting French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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