The news agency of the Trans-Dniester separatist region in Moldova says Russian troops have begun another round of military exercises in the territory.

Novosti Pridnestrovya quoted a Russian defense ministry statement Wednesday saying 300 Russian troops began a week of exercises in Trans-Dniester, a separatist region in eastern Moldova.

The drills started Tuesday.

Russian troops have staged military exercises with separatist troops several times in recent months. Moldovan authorities have criticized the exercises, calling them illegal.

Pro-Russian Trans-Dniester, which is not internationally recognized, broke away from Moldova in 1990 over fears the former Soviet republic would reunite with neighboring Romania.

About 1,000 Russian troops are stationed in Trans-Dniester on an ongoing basis to carry out peacekeeping duties and guard weapon depots.