Moldovan President Maia Sandu signed a defense cooperation agreement with France during her visit to Paris. The agreement comes at a time when Western nations are seeking to bolster the former Soviet state, situated between Ukraine and Romania, in the face of what they perceive as attempts by Russia to destabilize the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged unwavering support for Moldova, as France is enhancing its presence in countries it believes Russia views as within its sphere of influence. Similar defense agreements were struck by Paris with Armenia last month.

President Sandu warned that if Russian President Vladimir Putin is not halted in Ukraine, he will continue his advances. “If the aggressor is not stopped, he will keep going, and the front line will keep moving closer. Closer to us. Closer to you,” Sandu stated, calling for a united front from Europe.

The defense agreement commits both nations to future training and intelligence sharing. The French defense ministry announced that a French defense mission will be established in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, by the summer, and discussions have begun on potential weapons contracts.

Relations between Moldova and Moscow deteriorated when Moldova imposed sanctions on Russia following the Ukraine crisis. Russia has dismissed allegations that it plans to attack Europe or wage war against NATO, with President Putin reiterating that such claims are “nonsense.”

President Sandu, who intends to run for a second term in the upcoming presidential election, stated that “the regime in Moscow seeks to control” her country through election interference and even coup attempts.

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