Moldova Asks Russian Troops To Quit Transnistria


By Ana Maria Touma

Moldova’s parliament has passed a declaration asking Russian troops to leave Transnistria, a day before Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin’s planned visit to the breakaway region.

Moldova’s parliament adopted a declaration on Friday, asking Russia to withdraw its troops from the breakaway region of Transnistria where they have been deployed for 25 years.

The move came a day after the Moldovan Foreign Ministry warned Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, that the country would not allow him to land by military plane in Chisinau for a visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Transnistria.

Transdniestria’s eastern border with Ukraine (Source: Wikipedia [62])
Transdniestria’s eastern border with Ukraine. Source: Wikipedia

Parliamentary speaker Andrian Candu, a member of the ruling Democratic Party, said the text of the declaration was drafted together with the Foreign Ministry.

A majority of 61 MPs out of 65 MPs present at the session backed the motion after opposition Socialist Party deputies left the chamber in protest against the decision to include the document on the agenda without enough time for the MPs to evaluate its impact.

“This is a serious violation of common sense. At least allow us to look at it properly,” Socialist MP Vlad Batrancea said in parliament. “We believe this is a geopolitical provocation,” he added, before he left the hall with his fellow party members.

Moldova’s pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon, condemned the document in a message on his Facebook account, accusing the pro-EU dominated parliament of trying to “worsen relations with the Russian Federation and undermine all the breakthroughs in Moldovan exports to the Russian Federation, regional cooperation, education and humanitarian programs.”

He also claimed that such a decision could only come from “outside Moldova”, presumably referring to Romania.

Romania’s Prime Minister, Mihai Tudose, and several Romanian ministers were in Chisinau on Friday for a joint government meeting with the Moldovan executive.

Dodon confirmed that Rogozin was due to arrive in Chisinau on Saturday and argued that adopting the declaration a day ahead of his visit would only fuel regional tensions.

“I want to restate my position: I support a comprehensive dialogue with the Transnistrian representatives to solve all problems of, most of all for the ordinary people on both sides of the Dniester [river boundary],” he added.

Parliament Speaker Candu confirmed that Rogozin was likely to land in Chisinau, despite the Foreign Ministry’s warning. “Yes, I understood he is coming, despite not being welcome,” Candu said.

Russia has stationed about 2,000 troops in Transnistria since the 1992 truce that ended a war between pro-Russian separatists and the Moldovan military.

Since 2014, after conflict erupted in Ukraine, Moldova has banned Russian military from crossing its territory and the Russian Airforce from landing on the airport in Chisinau.

In 2008, NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly also adopted a resolution urging Russia to “withdraw its illegal military presence from the Transnistrian region of Moldova in the nearest future”.

The Kremlin took no notice but in 2016, Russia announced it would withdraw its troops once the weapons depots of the 14th Army were liquidated.

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The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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