France and Moldova to sign defence and economic accords

Moldova and France will sign defence and economic cooperation accords during a visit by Moldovan President Maia Sandu to Paris on Thursday, the French presidency said in a statement.

Western powers are seeking to increase support for Moldova amid what they fear are increasing efforts by Russia to destabilise Moldova. In parallel to Sandu’s visit, Western states will hold an audio call hosted by France to discuss increasing support for Ukraine, but also Moldova.

To Ukraine’s west, fellow former Soviet republic Moldova has a tiny defence budget and has long had tense relations with Moscow. Russia has troops and peacekeepers based in Transdniestria, a breakaway statelet of Moldova that has maintained its autonomy for three decades with the Kremlin’s support.

The French presidency said Macron would “reiterate France’s support for the independence, sovereignty and security of the Republic of Moldova, in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine” when he meets Sandu on Thursday.

It added that a defence cooperation agreement and a road map for cooperation in the economic field would be signed during the visit. It gave no further details.

The Transdniestria region asked Russia in February to help its economy withstand Moldovan “pressure,” at a meeting of hundreds of officials dismissed by the pro-European Chisinau government as a propaganda event.