Financial Times: Moldova defies Russia with EU security pact

Moldova and the EU are set to deepen their defence co-operation to unprecedented levels, as Chișinău defies warnings from Moscow that closer western integration could see it face Ukraine’s fate, writes Financial Times.

Under an EU proposal, set to be agreed next week and seen by the Financial Times, Moldova would increase its intelligence sharing, carry out joint military exercises and be included in the bloc’s joint weapons procurement — measures that would constitute the deepest formal step to link its national defence to western partners. The country’s constitution proclaims “permanent neutrality” and rules out membership of Nato.

The proposed “security and defence partnership” with Brussels comes despite Russian officials’ repeated warnings that Moldova could face the same fate as Ukraine if it aligns with the west.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in March said Brussels had offered Moldova the same ultimatum as Ukraine, which he described as “either us or Russia”.

Lavrov said Moscow would “defend” the ethnic Russian population in Moldova and that Chișinău risked “following in the footsteps of the regime in Kyiv”.

The new security partnership with Brussels would seek to “consolidate” Moldova’s participation in EU defence missions, including “live” military exercises. The eastern European nation would also be integrated into “initiatives related to defence industry, including joint procurement”.

Moldova and the EU will also take steps to “expand the scope” and increase the classification level of shared intelligence, the proposal states.

The partnership will also seek to increase co-operation between Moldovan and European agencies to defend against foreign manipulation, cyber and terrorist threats, the document says.

“This is a confirmation of the increased integration of Moldova’s security and defence stance with the EU,” said an official involved in the negotiations over the bloc’s agreement. “It has come a long way in just two years.”

“This puts structure and organisation around the co-operation,” the official added.

The proposal will be discussed by EU diplomats this week and is intended to be formally signed off next week, officials said.

Moldova’s foreign ministry said the partnership “will not have the status of an international treaty but will be based on political commitments”.

Carolina Străjescu

Carolina Străjescu


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