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Moldovan president against demonstration of NATO vehicles on Victory Day — media

The US troopers and military vehicles to be involved in the Dragon Pioneer 2016 NATO exercises arrived in Moldova’s capital Chisinau the other day

CHISINAU, May 4 /TASS/. Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti has called on the country’s Defense Ministry to give up plans to demonstrate US military hardware and vehicles on Chisinau’s main square on Victory Day, the local television channel Realitatea said on Wednesday referring to a letter that one of the presidential advisers Alexei Barbaneagra wrote to the country’s Defense Minister Anatol Salaru.

"A joint display of US and [Moldovan] military hardware may cause negative interpretations and speculations not only in a certain segment of the population but also among Moldova’s partners who have not been invited to participate in the show," journalists quoted the letter as saying.

Moldova’s Defense Minister Salaru said in an interview with the PRO TV television channel that the Moldovan president, who is the commander-in-chief of the Moldovan armed forces, had been informed of NATO military equipment display. "No final decision has been made as of yet. The Americans may give up the idea if the president disagrees," the defense minister told journalists.

The US troopers and military vehicles to be involved in the Dragon Pioneer 2016 NATO exercises arrived in Moldova’s capital Chisinau the other day. The Dragon Pioneer 2016 involving 198 troopers from the US army second cavalry regiment and 58 pieces of military hardware will take place in Moldova on May 3-20.

Moldova’s parliamentary opposition displeased by the US troopers’ arrival tried to block their entry into the republic. However, the police who arrived at the spot forced the demonstrators to retreat.

In his previous interviews with TASS, Igor Dodon, the leader of the Socialist Party of Moldova, said that the Defense Ministry’s idea to organize a display of NATO military equipment was a violation of the country’s constitution, which states that Moldova is a neutral state.

"The Socialists will organize mass protest rallies against this gross infringement on the country’s neutrality. We will use all legitimate ways to defend Moldova’s statehood and will not allow NATO troops to dominate in our land. We will hold the Victory March and the Immortal Regiment March on May 9. We will carry the photos of our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers who defeated fascism through the streets of Chisinau," Dodon, whose Socialist Party has the biggest parliamentary faction and controls a quarter of seats in the Moldovan legislature, told TASS.

He branded those who had allowed NATO vehicles to pass through the country’s territory as traitors who should step down immediately and face trial.

The United States and NATO have stepped up military activities in Eastern Europe in recent years allegedly as a reaction to the aggravation of the Russian-Ukrainian relations. The regional states have increased their military spending several times. They constantly increase the number of troopers and weapons and hold regular maneuvers.