Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s Interview with Galina Vasilieva of NewsMaker, Moldova

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Chișinău, Moldova
April 4, 2022


QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Moldova has received an unprecedented number of refugees, but refugees are also (inaudible) by the uncontrolled territory of (inaudible), Transnistria. So, what does international actors say about this unprecedented legal costs?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Refugees are refugees wherever they go, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has the responsibility for providing protection to refugees in any country that they decide to flee. So, refugees fleeing into that region will get support from UNHCR and will get protection as they can expect to get anywhere else in the world.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) The Russian invasion in Ukraine has challenged the European security system. Should we expect that after this, will the UN will be restructured or reformatted somehow, the Security Council for instance, just like happened after the – or the new world order will be established just like after the Second World War?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Yeah, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has unified the world against Russia. It unified the European Union. It unified NATO. And we were able in the Security Council and in the General Assembly to isolate the Russians. So, they stand alone, and they will not change or our – change the international order. That’s their purpose, and we cannot allow them to do it, and I think they have gotten a strong message from the world that they will not succeed in their efforts to undermine international peace and security.

We’re unified with Ukraine, we stand with the Ukrainian people, and we will continue to support their efforts to push Russia out of their territory.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Recently, there have been cases of rape by Russian soldiers reported in Ukraine. Are those confirmed? And how – what is the scale of this sexual violence issue in this conflict, in this war?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I have heard those reports. I don’t know that they have yet been confirmed. But this is just one more bit of evidence that women are – become victims of war, and that rape is used as a tool of war. And for the international community, we have to stand against such atrocities that are being committed. We are working with others in the international community to document any evidence of such atrocities so that we can hold them accountable.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Many refugees are women, and women are more exposed to the risk of becoming victims of human trafficking, including sexual and labor exploitation. In what countries that we see refugees these issues are most acute? And what is done in order to prevent such things happening in order to make women safe?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I had that – a discussion about that today with the International Organization for Migration and with the representative from the Human Rights Council, as well as with the Prime Minister. We’re very conscious of the possibility of human trafficking taking place, women being further victimized as they cross borders. And so, everyone is alert to that possibility, and they are all working to ensure that we do everything possible to protect women and children from those who might try to traffic them. It is a high priority for the United States government, but it’s also a high priority for your government, and we’re working together to ensure that we block every effort to traffic women and children.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Propaganda and information and freedom of expression, actually, are very relevant issues during a war. How do – how we fight – in fighting propaganda, reach a balance somehow? Because in Moldova, there are whole regions where people live in a parallel information world because they mostly listen to Russian information channels. So, do you think the measures to ban Russian information and analytical channels are efficient in Moldova? Because you can actually view everything on the internet or by satellite TV.

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We have to counter propaganda. We have to counter misinformation. That’s what a responsible press will do. That’s what we hope organizations like yours will do: provide people transparent and open information about what is happening and counter the misinformation propaganda that the Russians are propagating all over the world. Banning them is not enough. We have to be able to provide truthful information, we have to provide factual information so that people know what is happening and they can decide for themselves.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Moldova hasn’t really had a rich experience in receiving refugees. So – and especially giving official status of refugee in our country. So, what should Moldova – so maybe it’s not even reflected in our national legislation. What should a country, and Moldova in this case, do in order to make sure that refugees receive the necessary support?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I guess you don’t have to have experience, because what Moldova has done is extraordinary. You opened your borders. Families opened their homes. The government has encouraged that, and you have shown your hospitality. The legal procedures, UNHCR and others, can help build the legal processes that will support the country moving forward. But the first step is what you’ve already done, and that is open your hearts and open your homes. And we all thank you for that, and that’s part of the reason I have come, is to thank Moldovans and to express our strong support for you moving forward.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for this interview, Ambassador.