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France and Moldova Sign Defence Pact Amidst Fears of Russian Destabilisation

Moldova and France have signed a defence pact that would help the former cope with fears about Russian interference in its elections and more significant unrest in its Transnistria region.


In late February, it was announced that European powers would help Moldova cope with the mounting fear of Russian destabilisation. Moldova has always had tense relations with Russia, but they deteriorated further when Moldova took a pro-Ukraine stance


Moldova's pro-Europe stance poses a threat to Russia. Additionally, it achieved EU candidate status, further exacerbating its discord with Russia.


Furthermore, Moldova's breakaway state, Transnistria, has asked Russia to help its economy cope with pressure from Moldova in a meeting with hundreds of Russian and Transnistrian officials. Many Moldovan government officials dismissed this as a 'propaganda event'. These circumstances pushed the Moldovan government to be wary of Russia and pursue the help of other European states. 


A spokesperson for the French government confirmed France's involvement in the talks and stated that European states would discuss foreign, economic and defence strategies to support Moldova. This meeting took place on March 7, 2024. It discussed weapons production, cyber defence, and defending countries against Russia, such as Ukraine and, more specifically, Moldova. 


On March 6, 2024, French President Emmanuel Macron and Moldovan President Maia Sandu agreed to sign a defence cooperation agreement on March 7, 2024. 


Macron's office stated that the defence agreement would be signed during Sandu's visit to Paris without further clarification. The statement also reiterated that France will support Moldova in strengthening its sovereignty, independence, and security, especially in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is excellent news for Moldova, as the nation struggles to cope with Russian pressure. The presence of Russian troops in Transnistria fuels fears as the region has maintained its autonomy primarily through Russian support. 


Sandu and Macron signed the agreement during the former’s visit to Paris, coinciding with the meeting with other European states.

In September 2023, the two nations reached an initial accord over military training, intelligence sharing and dialogue. The agreement also exhibited France's intent to develop Moldova's military capabilities, with the potential sale of air-defence weapons similar to France's MISTRAL system. 


At that time, Moldova also announced its purchase of Thales-made GM200 radar, strengthening its aerial military prowess. The radar allows Moldova to track targets from low to high altitudes, aiding Moldova in monitoring military activity in Transnistria.

Sébastian Lecornu, French Minister of Defence, also stated that France would audit Moldovan air defence systems. This will help them develop their systems to a higher standard and deal with any external threats to their security or sovereignty. 


This new deal shows a new dawn in European policy toward Russia, further pushing the latter into the global shadows in the context of its invasion of Ukraine. The pact also shows France's willingness to be at the forefront of bridging the gap between former Soviet nations, helping them deal with increasing pressure built by Russian military presence. 


Edited by: Vidhi Dujodwala


Image Source: Asia One Magazine

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