Moldovan President Igor Dodon has told Russia that a landmark agreement bolstering ties between Moldova and the European Union was concluded "hastily" and suggested he wants to abandon it.
Dodon, who won the presidency in November after promising better ties with Moscow amid popular discontent with the government’s pro-Western policies, was making his first trip abroad since he was sworn in as president on December 23.
Meeting with the head of Russia's upper parliament house, Valentina Matviyenko, Dodon said on January 17 that Moldova "signed certain agreements with the EU that hastily came into force in 2014."
He was referring to the Association Agreement that aims to create closer political ties and remove trade barriers between the EU and Moldova, a small former Soviet republic that borders EU member Romania and Ukraine.
Dodon, who met later with President Vladimir Putin, said that Moldova will seek new agreements but did not say with whom or discuss any other details.
Dodon has made conflicting statements about the Association Agreement, telling Russian media and officials he would work to scrap it while acknowledging in meetings with Western officials and reporters that he does not have the power to cancel it.
Moldova is a parliamentary republic in which the president has largely symbolic tasks, but Dodon’s legitimacy is enhanced because he is the first president in 15 years to be elected through direct voting.