The European Union on Tuesday signed a security and defense pact with Moldova to help the pro-Western country boost its ability to tackle threats from Russia. 

“Today Moldova has become the first country to sign a security and defense partnership with the European Union,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at a meeting with Moldova's prime minister. 

“Others will follow in order to create a network of friends that builds strong security and defense, which will include a closer cooperation in areas ranging from cyber security to countering hybrid threats.”

Moldova, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, has angered former Soviet-era master Russia by pushing to join the EU in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 


EU states are currently debating starting membership talks with Moldova next month, in a move that would put it at the beginning of a years-long reform process before joining. 

The Moldovan authorities have repeatedly accused the Kremlin of seeking to destabilize the country in a bid to knock it off its pro-Western course. 

The EU did not disclose the details of the new partnership, but an official said it was aimed at improving Moldova’s “capacity to protect its sovereignty and independence.”

The EU said similar agreements with other “selected partners” were also currently in the works. 

The EU pact comes after France signed its own bilateral defense deal with Moldova earlier this week. 

The push to shore up Moldova's security follows rising tensions recently between Chisinau and pro-Russian separatists.

Pro-Russian officials in Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria appealed to Russia for “protection” in February.

Russia has 1,500 soldiers based in Moldova’s pro-Moscow separatist region of Transnistria, a thin swathe of land between Moldova and Ukraine that broke away in 1992 after a brief conflict.

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