Moldova Hasn’t Discusses Russian Peacekeepers Withdrawal from Transnistria

Moldova has not discussed the potential withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Transnistria with Moscow in advance, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, as reported by Sputnik.

Moldovan President-Elect Maia Sandu said earlier in the day that Russian peacekeepers, who guard weapons storage units in Transnistria, should leave, the weapons themselves should be moved out, and OSCE-linked civilian observers should be deployed in the region instead.

“There has been no preliminary discussion on this. Of course, we believe that there is great need for a more balanced approach in the context of our relationship,” Peskov said.

The dialogue with incumbent Moldovan President Igor Dodon is ongoing, and Russia is expecting that the dialogue with Chisinau will remain constructive, Peskov said.

“We expect the constructive approach to continue, to have a sort of continuity in that regard, and we will take into account possible negative impact of any hasty decisions,” the spokesman told reporters.

Transnistria, a region with a predominantly ethnic Russian and Ukrainian population, broke away from the Soviet Republic of Moldova in 1990, fearing the country might seek to reunify with neighbouring Romania.

The move triggered a war that ended with a ceasefire in July 1992, but the conflict has remained unresolved. Russian peacekeepers have been preserving peace in the region, along with their Moldovan and Transnistrian counterparts.