Leader of the unrecognized republic of Transnistria Vadim Krasnoselsky said on Monday he is worried over Moldova’s plans to establish control over the Transnistrian section of the border with Ukraine and Chisinau’s unwillingness to disucc this problem in the 5+2 format involving Moldova and Transnistria as parties to the conflict, Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE as mediators and the United States and the European Union as observers.
“Any dialogue should be maintained as part of the negotiating process in any format. We specially hail the 5+2 format,” Krasnoselsky’s press service quoted him as saying at a meeting with Thomas Mayr-Harting, Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia in the European External Action Service.
“This is the format where each party can voice its opinion. It is very bad when a side decides that it is inadmissible to discuss this of that issue in this format. The issue at question now is Moldova’s plans to deploy customs and border checkpoints in Ukraine’s territory,” he said.
Tiraspol is afraid that this way Chisinau is seeking to establish control over Transnistria’s foreign trade and exert pressure on the republic. Notably, no Russian peacekeepers are deployed at this border section and hence clashes between Moldova’s and Transnistria’s law enforcers cannot be ruled out.
The Moldovan government said earlier that the first joint border checkpoint will be opened before the yearend near the settlement of Kuchurgany. If it is done successfully, Chisinau will use this experience at other Ukrainian checkpoints along the Transnistrian border section.
Chisinau however dismisses Tiraspol’s concerns saying that this step is meant solely against border trespassers and smugglers. As of today, this border section is controlled by Ukraine which shares data on Transnistrian trade operations with Chisinau.
Transnistria, a largely Russian-speaking region, broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its relations with Moldova’s central government in Chisinau have been highly mixed and extremely tense at times ever since then. In 1992 and 1993, tensions erupted into a bloody armed conflict that claimed the lives of hundreds of people on both sides.
The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Negotiations on the conflict’s peaceful settlement known as the 5+2 format talks started after that.