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More trouble for Ukraine, Russia-backed Transnistria in Moldova along the Ukraine border demands recognition of independence

Transnistria is a narrow strip of land on the eastern side of Moldova bordering Ukraine to the east, which is de-facto independent state backed by Russia with own govt, parliament, military, constitution, flag etc

Amidst an unprecedented turn in the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russia-backed breakaway Transnistria region in neighbouring Moldova has demanded recognition of independence. On Saturday 5th March 2022, the separatist authorities in Tiraspol announced in a press release that they disagree with Moldova’s request to join the European Union. They also demanded the recognition of Transnistria’s independence in the same press release.

According to a report by Romania Journal, the Foreign Ministry of the de-facto govt in Transnistria said it was unhappy that the Transnistrian side had not been consulted before Moldova requested to join EU, and called on the Moldova govt in Chisinau to dialogue “for a civilized divorce and the establishment of inter-state relations.”

In the press release, the separatist authorities have said, “We regard the submission by the Republic of Moldova’s leadership of an application for membership in the European Union as a geopolitical decision leading to a change in international borders and spheres of influence in the regional space and radically altering the circumstances of the final settlement of Moldovan-Pridnestrovian relations. We understand the decision of our neighboring republic’s leadership.”

The separatist authority has further argued by saying, “Nevertheless, Moldova’s application for EU membership in terms of the protracted unresolved conflict between Pridnestrovie and Moldova, without regard to the opinion and outside the framework of consultations with the Pridnestrovian side, while completely ignoring the discussion of this issue in existing negotiation formats, including the international platform of the “Permanent Conference …”, marks an end to the settlement process, requiring urgent international legal registration.”

Reminding Moldova of the incidents in the past, they have said, “We consider it necessary to stress that the Pridnestrovian people determined their fate in a civilized and democratic way on September 2, 1990, stopped the military aggression of Moldova in 1991-1992, defended their freedom and independence, confirmed the inviolability of the course for international recognition of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic’s sovereignty and independence at a national referendum on September 17, 2006.”

Demanding their independence, the Transnistrians have said, “In the new circumstances, including those created by the Moldovan leadership’s actions, we call on the Moldovan side to engage in dialogue with Pridnestrovie with a view to a final civilized settlement of relations based on the peaceful good-neighborly existence of two independent states by signing a comprehensive interstate agreement.”

On the other hand, Romania has maintained its stand that it is with Moldova. Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu has given a statement regarding this issue. Before attending the extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, the Romanian Foreign Minister said, “Today Transnistria requested recognition of its independence. I am in direct contact with my colleagues in Chisinau. I discussed with my Moldovan counterpart Nicu Popescu, and our colleagues are preparing their stance on this issue. I would like to talk about this during today’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. I take this opportunity to reiterate Romania’s strong support for the Republic of Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

About the agenda of the meeting, he was about to attend, Aurescu said, “The meeting will focus on the situation in Ukraine and the response of the international community to the Russian Federation’s aggressive actions.” He also underlined the importance of transatlantic coordination.

Transnistria: Tiny breakaway region in Moldova bordering Ukraine

Transnistria is a narrow strip of land on the eastern side of Moldova bordering Ukraine to the east. It lies between the Moldova-Ukraine borer on the east and the Dniester river on the west. Even though it is recognised as a part of Moldova, it is a de-facto independent state which is backed by Russia. Transnistria has its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, currency, and vehicle registration, and is a semi-presidential system of governance. Officially called the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, the unrecognised republic has its own flag, constitution, national anthem, and coat of arms.

Russia maintains around 1,500 troops in Transnistria, a significant number given that the breakaway state’s military has only around 5000 soldiers. The Transnistrian administration is heavily tilted towards Russia. In fact, when Russia had annexed Crimea, the Transnistrian parliament’s president had asked to merge with Russia. Moreover, most people in Transnistria identify themselves as Russians, and also have passports issued by Russia.

Therefore, Transnistria demanding recognition of its independence is bad news for Ukraine. Although Russia at present does not recognise it as an independent nation, Putin can recognise it now, and can send more troops there. This will mean, the western border of Ukraine, which has considered relatively safe, will no longer be safe along the Moldova border at the south-west. Russia already surrounds Ukraine on the east, north and significant portion on the south, along with ally Belarus, and an independent Transnistria will mean Russian presence on the east too.

As Russia already controls Crimea, it can launch attacks from both Crimea and Transnistria, and cut off Ukraine from the black sea. This will effectively turn Ukraine into a landlocked cuntry.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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