Moldovan Defense Minister: United policy needed to get Russian troops out of Transnistria

In order to force Russia to fully withdraw its troops from Transnistria, Moldova must maintain a consistent state policy, said Moldovan Defense Minister Eugen Sturza, as reported by Ukrinform.

“Unfortunately, we keep to the traditional game: one step forward, two steps back. In other words, today some politicians advocate the withdrawal of Russian troops, but tomorrow, so to speak, the government changes, and other politicians claim that they want to make friends with Russia, and push to maintain the status quo of the Russian troops in Transnistria. From this perspective, we have to have a united government project, the primary goal of which is the full and unconditional withdrawal of the Russian troops,” Sturza remarked.

The minister added that Moscow will only withdraw its troops from the unrecognized republic if there is coordinated international pressure on Russia and the Moldovan government implements a consistent policy.

On 22 June 2018, the UN General Assembly ratified a resolution which calls on Russia to withdraw its troops from Moldova. The Russian soldiers are stationed in the territory of the so-called “Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic”. The resolution was supported by 64 states, including Ukraine.

Chisinau wants to reach an agreement with Kyiv for the Russian troops to pull out through a corridor in Ukrainian territory. Kyiv has expressed its willingness to provide such a corridor. However, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia will never agree to wrap up its “peacekeeping mission” in Transnistria.

Transnistria, where the Russian-speaking population is the majority, declared independence from Moldova in 1990. Russia supports the separatist regime in the region, and refers to the presence of its troops as a “peacekeeping operation”. However, the international community recognizes Transnistria as part of Moldova.

At the OSCE Istanbul Summit in 1999, Russia undertook to withdraw its troops and weapons from Transnistria, but did not follow through with it.

  Moldova, Ukraine, Transnistria, UN, Russia, Kyiv, OSCE