Thousands of people marched on Moldova’s capital Chisinau as part of a pro-EU movement organised by the country’s president Maia Sandu.
An estimated 75,000 people turned out to support Moldova’s push to join the European Union amid tensions with Russia.
Sandu told demonstrators her country no longer wanted to be an outlier, pledging that Moldova would become a European Union member nation by 2030.
Moldova also “does not want to be blackmailed by the Kremlin,” she told the rally, where crowds waved EU flags and chanted pro-European slogans.
The EU anthem was also played to much jubilation.
Moldova has been badly affected by the war, with the rising price of gas and electricity contributing to the resignation of former prime minister Natalia Gavrilita earlier this year.
At the rally on Sunday, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola addressed the crowds, praising them for defying Russian threats to come out in their thousands.
She told the BBC the EU would welcome Moldova “with open arms and open hearts” and that a “Europe with Moldova can be stronger”.
She added that the Moldovan government was “slowly implementing reforms” that the EU wants in place before accession negotiations begin – which include amendments to the justice system and a commitment to “fight corruption at all levels”.
“We’re very impressed, frankly speaking, by the progress so far,” Metsola said.