Pro-Russian politicians in Moldova have stepped up their opposition to government plans to invite U.S. troops and military hardware to the World War II anniversary festivities in the capital on May 9.
Some 200 U.S. soldiers arrived in Moldova on May 3 to take part in military maneuvers with the Moldovan Army until May 20.
In a letter sent to U.S. Ambassador to Moldova James Pettit, Moldovan Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin said the U.S. military presence at the Victory Day events in Chisinau would be a “major mistake” with “incalculable repercussions.”
The U.S. Embassy has not commented on the letter.
Although Moldova is officially neutral, its pro-Western government has good relations with NATO.
Earlier this week, the opposition Socialist Party warned the U.S. soldiers, who are at a training base 30 kilometers north of Chisinau, not to bring their hardware to for the World War II events or risk protests, including “egg-throwing.”
Pettit reacted to that statement by saying on May 5 that he was “sorry” some Moldovans forget that the United States was part of the alliance that defeated Nazi Germany.
Vitali Ignatiev, a top official from Moldova’s breakaway Transdniester region, which has strong ties with Russia, said the presence of the U.S. military in Moldova was “a destabilizing factor.”