Moldova on Thursday officially applied for membership of the European Union, a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.
The announcement came after the European Parliament expressed backing for a similar move by Kyiv.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered fears among ex-Soviet countries, which are not members of NATO or the EU, that they may be next.
Moldova’s President Maia Sandu said in a statement that the country had signed “a request to join the European Union”.
“We want to live in peace, prosperity, be part of the free world,” she said. “While some decisions take time, others must be made quickly and decisively, and taking advantage of the opportunities that come with a changing world.”
Ms Sandu, the prime minister and the parliamentary speaker all signed the document during a briefing in the capital, Chisinau.
Pro-Russian and pro-EU politicians have vied for control since Moldova declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The application will be sent to Brussels in the coming days, the president said.
Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu hailed the announcement as “a day future generations will proudly relate to. It is the moment our country has irreversibly anchored itself in the European space”.
Moldova, which is one of Europe’s poorest countries, signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014, which angered Russia. Moscow responded by putting an embargo on some fruit, vegetables and wine.
Another ex-Soviet republic Georgia, also formally applied for membership on Thursday.