French President Emmanuel Macron is set to sign a defence and economy deal with Moldovan President Maia Sandu on March 7. (Antoine Gyori/ Corbis via Getty images)


Fears over Russia prompt France and Moldova to sign defence deal


Moldova and France will sign defence and economic co-operation accords during a visit by Moldovan President Maia Sandu to Paris, the French presidency said.

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 minimal defence budget and has long endured tense relations with Moscow. Russia has troops and peacekeepers based in Transnistria, a breakaway statelet of Moldova that has maintained its autonomy for three decades  – with the Kremlin’s support.

Government authorities in Paris said French President Emmanuel 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 March 7.

They added that a defence co-operation agreement and a road-map for co-operation in the economic field would be signed during the visit. No further details were given.

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