BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Moldova has signed a security and defence partnership with the European Union, the first country to agree such a deal with the bloc, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.

Led by pro-European President Maia Sandu, Moldova, which lies between Ukraine and NATO and EU member Romania, hopes to join the European Union by 2030. It has strongly condemned Russia's full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

"This partnership will enhance the country's resilience. It will allow (us) to jointly address common security challenges, make our engagement more effective and explore new areas of cooperation," Borrell wrote on X.

Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean said on the X social media platform that EU accession would be the best "mechanism to ensure peace & stability for Moldova's citizens".

"Until then, the signing of the EU-Moldova Security and Defence Partnership is a step forward, enhancing our peace, security, and prosperity," he wrote.

In March, Sandu signed a defence cooperation accord with France, warning that Russia was renewing efforts to destabilise Moldova and that if President Vladimir Putin was not stopped in Ukraine he would keep going.

Moldova gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and its relations with Moscow have deteriorated during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Alexander Tanas and Andrew Gray; writing by Tom BalmforthEditing by Ed Osmond and Gareth Jones)