The Republic of Moldova (Republica Moldova) is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east and south. Historically part of the Principality of Moldavia, it was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1812. At the dissolution of the latter, it united with other Romanian lands in Romania in 1918. After being occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, and changing hands in 1941 and 1944 during World War II, it was known as the Moldavian SSR from then until 1991. Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union on 27 August 1991. Although Moldova has been independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River despite signing international obligations to withdraw.
Moldova is a parliamentary democracy with a President as its head of state and a Prime Minister as its head of government. The country is a member state of the United Nations, WTO, OSCE, GUAM, CIS, BSEC and other international organizations. Moldova has officially been a neutral country since its independence, and an early member of the NATO Partnership for Peace. Moldova aspires to join the European Union  and is implementing its first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of the EU.