Some 500 Russian soldiers and 100 military vehicles stationed in Moldova's breakaway republic are staging weeks of military exercises.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday that the exercises aim to test the capacity of troops in confronting and defeating conventional fighting groups engaged in trying to destabilize the situation in Trans-Dniester and seize strategic objectives.

The pro-Russian region broke away from Moldova in 1990 and a war broke out in 1992, leaving 1,500 dead.

The commander of the Russian troops in Trans-Dniester, Dmitry Zelenkov, was quoted as saying the exercises would last until the end of May.

Russia's defense ministry says some 1,300 troops are stationed in Trans-Dniester, of which 350 are peacekeepers.

Moldova protested the presence of Russian troops in a Victory Day parade in Trans-Dniester this week.