The United States of America has terminated the financial support for Moldova’s National Army through its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, Moldovan former defense minister Anatol Șalaru announced in a Facebook post.
Translation from Romanian. The original story is HERE.
According to the politician, it’s President Igor Dodon to blame for this decision and deputy minister Gheorghe Galbura – „a man of Mihai Ghimpu.”
12.7 million US dollars for the reformation of the Army
"The actions of Igor Dodon against the national defense system have started working. The U.S. has ceased to finance the National Army via its FMF account. The National Army of Moldova will miss this way 12.7 million dollars; this money was for the reformation and modernization of the armed forces. The reason for which the American partners have suspended the funding is the refusal of the Moldovan authorities to let National Army soldiers to take part in the regional military exercises,” the former defense minister claimed.
Mr. Şalaru says the U.S. used to send 12.7 million dollars every year to the Moldovan military, under various forms, and that assistance “was a breath of oxygen for the National Army, whose budget is very limited.”
"Let me announce this way that I shall file a complaint of criminal nature against Igor Dodon for actions that undermine the national defense system of Moldova," Mr. Şalaru wrote in his timeline.
Half the budget of the Army
Indeed, compared with a budget of little more than 25 million dollars a year, the support amounting to 12.7 million dollars is a consistent contribution for the Moldovan armed forces. What the former defense minister avoided to admit is that the sum of 12.7 million was for one U.S. fiscal year only (2016/2017). Earlier, this support varied between half a million in 2009 and 1.25 million in 2012-2015.
Moldova is not alone – Ukraine and Georgia cut off American defense support too
Department of State reports show that Moldova is not the only country to lose American military support. In 2017, as part of the same program, Ukraine received 85 million dollars and Georgia was granted 30 million dollars. In 2018 these three nations would not benefit any way from the FMF mechanism. There is no evidence from official U.S. documents supporting a direct connection between President Dodon’s statements or actions and the decision to suspend the assistance for Moldova.
Anatol Şalaru has another explanation for this finding. He maintains that Georgia receives U.S. financial support for military purposes via other channels and projects.
Neither President Dodon nor the Defense Ministry have made comments related to the announcement of the former minister.
A decision of the U.S. Administration
Brett Schaefer, a foreign policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, was earlier quoted by the Defense News portal as saying on the curtailment in this program that the goal is to expand the defense budget without cutting the budget overall. The Trump administration is considering offering FMF under a loan program. Under that regime, instead of the U.S. giving the funds to a partner nation with the obligation that they spend those funds on U.S. defense goods, the partner would have to return that money to Washington in the future, according to Defense News.
"The problem with the loan system, warn critics, is that nations would essentially be double-spending those funds. An FMF loan of $10 million would actually cost the country that accepts it $20 million, first for spending the money on U.S. materiel and then paying it back."
In 2016 Moldova allocated 556.3 million lei (29.2 million dollars) for defense needs and in 2017 the country would spend 564.3 million lei for its armed forces.
Smalled military budget in Europe
A study released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says that in spite of increasing its defense budget Moldova’s military spending is among the lowest in the world and the lowest in Europe. By comparison in 2016 the ex-Soviet country spent twice as less as Malta, which is 7u0-fold smaller, and 11-fold less than Georgia, which has approximately the same size of territory and population number, and is facing similar Russia-backed separatist problems.
Moldova spends between 0.3% and 0.5% of its GDP for defense activities during more than one decade.
SIPRI’s study also shows that Moldova has made the least weapons purchases in 2016 – they cost just 0.4% of GDP. For example, Romania put aside for this purpose 2%, Estonia 2.1%, Ukraine 3.8%, Armenia and Azerbaijan 4.6%, and Russia 5.3%.
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