Moldova’s defence ministry announced on Monday that its troops would take part in a major joint military exercise alongside detachments from the US, Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and host Romania.
Dubbed “Platinum Eagle” the four-day exercise is designed to help coordinate the command-and-control capabilities of the participating nations, as well as their ability to work together during complex battlefield deployments.
The move is likely to spark the ire of Moldova’s staunchly pro-Russian President Igor Dodon who forced the defence ministry to call off their plans to participate in last year’s version of the exercises when he refused to sign a decree allowing for the armed forces’ deployment.
Dodon also attempted to prevent Moldovan troops from participating in multinational military exercises that took place in Ukraine last September but was overruled by the country’s pro-European parliament.
Since his inauguration in 2016, he has spoken out against further integration with Brussels and has actively interfered with his country’s attempts to forge closer ties with NATO members.
Frequently at odds with his own government over the direction of Moldova’s foreign policy, Dodon has been vocal about his desire for Moldova to abandon a trade agreement with the European Union and move the impoverished ex-Soviet republic closer to its former imperial masters in the Kremlin.
Dodon told Reuters in a 2017 interview it was unlikely Moldova could join the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union, a trade bloc that includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, in the next three to four years, but hoped to gain observer status that eventually lead to full membership.