Conflict in eastern Ukraine drew Ukraine and Moldova into closer cooperation on the settlement of Transnistria problem. “Transnistria conflict is an instrument of influence on Moldova, and in my opinion, on Ukraine as well. That is why it is important how we address the problem. Decisions made according to the Russian scenario impose risks for Moldova and Ukraine as well,” said Leonid Litra, senior researcher at the New Europe Center, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The government of Moldova supports the political and diplomatic settlement of the problem. “We promote the transformation of the present peacekeeping mission into a civic mission with an international mandate, and for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and ammunition from the territory of the country,” Ruslan Bolbochan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova to Ukraine said.
One of the options is to withdraw Russian troops through the corridor in the territory of Ukraine. But despite Ukraine’s declarations of support in the matter, Russia continues to block this proposal. “Our official position is that Russia should withdraw its troops, and our position will remain the same. We will do our best to facilitate the process. We will ensure an unimpeded withdrawal of troops and ammunition as soon as Russia expresses its consent,” said Viktor Kryzhanivskyi, Ukraine’s Special Representative on Transnistrian settlement. Russian officials object to the pullback of their troops saying it may cause destabilization in Moldova and is not possible due to the military conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The joint military exercise of so-called “Transnistrian troops” and illegal Russian troops induce additional tension in the region. Since 2014, they have already conducted 300 such exercises. There are cases recorded when Transnistrian instructors also traveled to so-called “DNR” in eastern Ukraine to conduct a similar military exercise.
“Military trainings raise tension in the region. It’s hard for me to imagine the Russian side of the peacekeeping mission trying to prevent illegal Russian troops from conducting military exercises. Therefore, the need to change the peacekeeping mission to a civic mission with an international mandate is obvious to all parties other than those who have different interests,” said Leonid Litra.