WARSAW, Poland — Moldova’s Defence Minister Anatolie Nosatîi has said that the country aims to buy new air defense systems following recent airspace violations by the Russian military.

Nosatîi said that in the past days a number of Russian missiles were fired from the Black Sea and subsequently flew over Moldova’s territory to strike targets in Ukraine.

“Under normal circumstances, in the event of an airspace violation, air defense forces enter a state of combat and measures are taken to intercept flying targets such as missiles or aircraft that violate a state’s national space,” the minister said, as quoted by local news agency IPN.

Moldova is landlocked, but the country’s southern part lies in proximity of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast.

Nosatîi said that the Moldovan authorities plan to pass legislation that will allow the country’s government to establish multi-year defense acquisition programs. As air defense systems are expensive, Moldova hopes that its Western partners will help purchase the weapons, according to the minister.

The official also stated that, under the country’s agreement with Germany, the Moldovan Armed Forces are to receive new drones and other military gear in the first months of 2023.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised concern amid Moldovan officials that the country, whose constitution requires it to remain a neutral state, could be Moscow’s next target. Russia has long backed Transnistria, a breakaway republic in Moldova’s eastern part, and observers have speculated the Kremlin could use the statelet to facilitate its attacks on Ukraine, or even invade Moldova.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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