CHISINAU, May 8. /TASS/. NATO military vehicles that were exhibited in Chisinau’s central square on Sunday have set off for their deployment place at the Negresti firing range on the backdrop of opposition protests, a TASS correspondent reported from the site.
Before leaving central Chisinau the U.S. servicemen were given St. George ribbons from opposition parties and movements that organized a picket against their presence in neutral Moldova. Protesters were holding slogans reading "Moldova is a Neutral State," "We don’t Need NATO," "Stop NATO Bases."
"Moldova is a peaceful and neutral state. We take part in no military blocs and don’t want war. We saw what happened in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria. If you don’t go before tomorrow, there will be thousands of us here," Vlad Bartincea, a member of the Moldovan parliament with the opposition Party of Socialists, said.
A military exhibition was organized in Chisinau’s central square on Sunday morning on the occasion of the VE-Day. It involved about two dozens of military vehicles infantry carriers, military trucks and engineering vehicles from the U.S. army second cavalry regiment which is in Moldova for the Dragon Pioneer 2016 joint NATO drills.
The U.S. servicemen laid flowers to the Eternal Flame at the Eternity Military Memorial.
The U.S. military were welcomed by protests in Moldova. The convoy of the U.S. military vehicles was blocked on the border with Romania by activists of Moldova’s opposition Party of Socialists. After the police involved in the situation, the convoy continued its movement. The U.S. military were invited to take part in the Victory March in central Chisinau.
Leader of the Moldovan Socialists Igor Dodon said the invitation of the American military was a "provocation geared to spoil the Victory celebrations." He said his party will do its best not to let NATO vehicles reach the capital city on May 9 and warned of possible clashes.
The Moldovan defense ministry however said the republican authorities wanted to invite to Chisinau representative of the nations that had played a decisive role in the victory over Nazism. "We know that May 9 is a symbolic date for the Russians and that is why we invited Russian servicemen from the peacekeeping contingent to take part in the display. We sent the invitation to the Russian embassy but they turned it down," Defense Minister Anatol Salaru said, adding that the U.S. vehicles will be back at the firing range by Sunday evening.
Some of Moldovan political analysts say today’s exhibition pursued absolutely different goals. "Having organized and exhibition of NATO military hardware in central Chisinau, Moldovan politicians are deliberately seeking to worsen relations with Russia. Obviously, this decision leads to destabilization as it is a secret to no one that there are political forces that would protests against it on grounds of Moldova’s neutral status. And I think this position is absolutely justified," Yuri Roshka, political analyst, told TASS.
"It is difficult to understand those politicians who, on the one hand, are speaking about the necessity to resume relations with Russia, to resume exports of Moldovan products to the market of that country, and, on the other hand, are organizing such an action," he said, adding that Chisinau’s attempts to get directly involved in a geopolitical warfare are dangerous for Moldova and may entail serious consequences.