The latest nationwide blackout in Moldova, following a massive missile attack on Ukraine on November 23, prompted Moldovans to take to social media to express their solidarity with the neighbouring country.
When the power was off across Moldova on November 23, rather than creating panic, it moved Moldovan internet users to protest against Russian aggression under the hashtag #безвас (#withoutyou).
“In the dark, but #without you. Our children and grandchildren must have a different future! And we will fight for their normal life in the civilized world," Aurelia Salikov, an entrepreneur from Chisinau commented, according to a collection of posts compiled by Newsmaker.md.
Another Twitter user posted a picture of her daughter doing her homework by candlelight, with the caption “Russia is a terrorist state”.
The #withoutyou hashtag is widely used by Ukrainians posting about the war on social media. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy repeatedly used the phrase in a Telegram message in September.
“Read my lips: Without gas or without you? Without you. Without light or without you? Without you. Without water or without you? Without you. Without food or without you? Without you,” the Ukrainian president wrote on September 12.
“Cold, hunger, darkness and thirst are not as scary and deadly for us as your ‘friendship and brotherhood,’” he added. “But history will put everything in its place. And we will be with gas, light, water and food … and WITHOUT you!”
Dependent on its neighbours
Imports of electricity from Romania to Moldova, which are carried out through Ukraine’s power transport grid and account for some 70% of the country’s electricity consumption, were automatically suspended during the missile attack by Russia on Ukraine that mainly targeted the country’s energy system.
Once the Ukrainian power grid's integrity and stability were restored, the imports from Romania resumed and gradually all the regions in Moldova were connected.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicu Popescu said he would summon the Russian ambassador to Chisinau, Oleg Vasnetsov, to discuss the incident.
"Russia's attacks on the energy infrastructure in Ukraine have once again left Moldova in the dark. Massive power outages across the country, including Chisinau. I ordered the summoning of the Russian ambassador to the Republic of Moldova for explanations,” wrote Popescu on Twitter.
Moldova’s President Maia Sandu blamed Russia for the incident.
"Russia has left Moldova in the dark. Russia's war in Ukraine kills people and destroys residential blocks and energy infrastructure with missiles … People's lives cannot be turned back. But the electricity supply can be restored. We will settle the technical problems and we will have light again. All state institutions are working in this," wrote Sandu on Facebook.
According to the head of state, "we cannot trust a regime that leaves us in the dark and cold, that intentionally kills people, out of the simple desire to keep other peoples in poverty and humiliation. However difficult it may be now, our only path, the future path of the Republic of Moldova, must remain towards the free world.”
Sandu convened a meeting of the Supreme Security Council (CSS) for November 24, to discuss the challenges related to energy supply.