Ukraine helps Moldova to blockade Transdniestria despite its status as a mediator in conflict settlement, Transdniestria’s deputy foreign minister Igor Shornikov told journalists on Wednesday.
Commenting on the decision of Ukrainian authorities to unilaterally restrict imports of excisable Transdniestrian goods via Slobodka railway station, Shornikov said that this “is in line with the general context of actions of Moldova and Ukraine on imposing a full economic blockade aimed at suffocating Transdniestria.”
He reminded that in May 2015, import of excisable goods to Transdniestria was banned via Kuchurgan and Platonovo checkpoints on Ukrainian border. Moldova and Ukraine also unilaterally changed the routes of import cargoes via railroad in Transdniestria starting from January.
“The next step will be establishment of Moldovan-Ukrainian control at Kuchurgan international checkpoint,” the diplomat added. The Transdniestrian foreign ministry has called for ensuring the implementation of agreements reached earlier, addressing participants in the “5+2” format. Talks on Transdniestrian settlement in the extended “5+2” format were suspended in 2014 when Tiraspol accused Moldovan authorities of pressure. The “5+2” format brings together Moldova and Transdniestria as sides in the conflict; Russia, Ukraine and OSCE as mediators; United States and European Union as observers.
“The problem of importing cargoes to Transdniestria via railroad will also be raised at the conference in Bavaria devoted to confidence-building measures in Transdniestrian settlement,” the diplomat noted.
Transdniestria’s president Yevgeny Shevchuk told TASS in an interview last week that Ukraine casts doubt on its status as a mediator at talks on Transdniestrian settlement, thus helping Chisinau to exert pressure on Tiraspol. “It became normal for Ukrainian officials and media to use rhetoric of some kind of ‘Transdniestrian threat’,” Shevchuk added.
The Transdniestrian conflict started in March 1992 when the first clashes occurred between Moldovan police and Transdniestrian militia near the city of Dubossary, which were followed by an outbreak of armed hostilities. By summer, it had developed into large-scale fighting in Bendery, where about a thousand people were killed and tens of thousands were wounded and became refugees.
The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in July of the same year and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Since then, they have been guarding peace and calm in the region, together with their Moldovan and Transdniestrian colleagues, thus allowing Chisinau and Tiraspol to conduct negotiations on the settlement of the conflict around the breakaway republic.