The pro-Western prime minister of Moldova, a troubled Eastern European nation that borders Ukraine, resigned on Friday, buffeted by a severe energy crisis, soaring inflation and errant missiles as a result of the war raging next door.
Natalia Gavrilita, an economist, had been prime minister since 2021, when she took charge of the government after elections gave a strong majority in Parliament to pro-Western politicians. Officials and analysts said that her departure would not push the former Soviet republic back into Moscow’s orbit or change its aspirations to join the European Union.
“This is not a crisis, just a normal reshuffle of the government,” Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s foreign minister, said in a telephone interview. He said that a “big part” of the prime minister’s team would stay in their jobs.
More important in deciding Moldova’s direction is the country’s president, Maia Sandu, a Harvard-educated former World Bank official who was elected to a four-year term in 2020 on a platform of aligning the country, Europe’s poorest, closely with the West. The incumbent president she defeated, Igor Dodon, had been openly endorsed by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Ms. Sandu’s allies dominate Parliament, which is likely to approve any new prime minister she nominates. She tapped Dorin Recean, a former interior minister of Moldova, as the new government leader later on Friday.
Russia, infuriated by Moldova’s Westward tilt under President Sandu, has sought to reverse that course by choking off supplies of natural gas and stoking public discontent through local allies like Ilan M. Shor, a convicted fraudster and fugitive billionaire who has used his money to pay street protesters.
Along with economic problems exacerbated by an energy squeeze across Europe as the continent pushes to wean itself off Russia’s fossil fuels as punishment for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Moldova has been unsettled over the past year by wayward Russian rockets landing on its territory.
On Friday, shortly before Ms. Gavrilita announced her resignation, a Russian missile fired from the Black Sea flew over Moldova on its way to Ukraine, the latest in a series of violations of Moldovan air space.
Announcing her decision at a news conference on Friday, the departing prime minister said that her government had faced an unexpected cascade of “crises caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine.” But Ms. Gavrilita said: “I believe that we will be able to make it through all the difficulties and challenges.”