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West behind illegal secondment of Moldovan soldiers to NATO drills, president says

On Friday, Igor Dodon signed a decree banning Moldovan servicemen to take part in any drills abroad without his written consent
Moldovan President Igor Dodon EPA/STR
Moldovan President Igor Dodon

CHISINAU, September 8. /TASS/. The West is behind the conflict between the Moldovan president and government over the participation of Moldovan servicemen in NATO drills in Ukraine, Moldovan President and Commander in Chief of the country’s Armed Forces Igor Dodon said on Friday after the country’s servicemen had set off for the drills in violation of his order.

"We have received yet another evidence that the current Democrats-led government is willing to implement any instructions of its overseas political partners who seek to incorporate the Moldovan army into NATO’s sphere of influence, even at an unofficial level and use it in possible geopolitical confrontations," Dodon said, adding that this and the previous conflicts between the government and the president "prove that it is strategically important for the West to have the Moldovan army participate in NATO’s military exercises."

"To satisfy NATO’s generals and bypass the ban of the commander in chief, the government has resorted to a trick saying the military have been commissioned for an alleged traineeship," he said.

Meanwhile, NATO is holding the multinational drills Rapid Trident in Ukraine’s Lvov region in a period from September 7 through 23. According to Moldova’s defense ministry, a Moldovan contingent of 57 soldiers is taking part in the 14-nation drills.

The president demanded acting Defense Minister Gheorghe Galbura be fired for non-obedience. He also ordered to conduct a probe and punish all the servicemen who had disobeyed his order.

More to it, on Friday, Dodon signed a decree banning Moldovan servicemen to take part in any drills, traineeships and training courses abroad without his written consent. The army of the constitutionally neutral Moldova cannot take part in exercises stage by any military bloc, Dodon stressed.

In the meantime, opinion polls unequivocally demonstrate that President Dodon, who was elected to the post in general elections in late 2016, enjoys bigger support than the pro-European ruling coalition, which has discredited itself by high-profile corruption scandals, political crises and the economic slump.

In this situation, the Moldovan head of state said he did not rule out he would seek wider competences for himself. "If things go on the way they are, the only way out would be a presidential republic," he said. "I can bring people to the streets." However, he said he was against destabilization and did not want his country to plunge into a Ukrainian scenario.