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Defense Minister Says Moldova Must Be Ready To Counter 'Hybrid War'

Moldova's defense Minister has said that his country must be prepared to deal with the threats posed by "hybrid" warfare, a reference to tactics Russia is widely accused of employing in Ukraine.

Defense Minister Viorel Cibotaru told RFE/RL's Moldovan Service that "we must learn to live with this threat."

Cibotaru said that measures implemented recently have improved the preparedness of Moldova's military, which will continue to increase its defense capability within a NATO-supported program.

However, he said that to cover the army's needs, Moldova's defense budget would have to be about four times higher than the $21.5 million earmarked for this year.

Moldova is a member of NATO's Defense Capacity Building Initiative (DCBI), which was launched at an alliance summit in September.

DCBI aims to help NATO project stability without the deployment of large combat forces.

Russia has said Moldova’s drive for closer European integration could cause it to lose control of its breakaway pro-Russian region of Transdniester, where Russia maintains about 1,200 troops in Transdniester.

Russia used troops in unmarked uniforms to take over Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014, and has denied accusations from Kyiv and NATO that it has sent troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine to help pro-Russian separatists ight government forces.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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