Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria asks Russia to increase number of peacekeepers in region
Moldova ‘shackled’ in any military plans and preparations against Transnistria as long as Russian peacekeeping continues, claims head of breakaway region’s representative office
Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria said its authorities are asking Russia to increase the number of peacekeepers in the region.
“Peacekeepers are the main security factor on the (banks of the) Dniester," and they pose "the main obstacle" against Ukraine and Moldova, head of the breakaway region’s representative office in Moscow Leonid Manakov told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.
"As long as Russia’s peacekeeping mission continues, Moldova is shackled in any military plans and preparations against Transnistria,” he added.
During the interview, Manakov claimed that Russia reduced the size of its peacekeeping contingent from six to two motorized rifle battalions, and that the current number of Russian peacekeepers in the region does not exceed 450.
He also claimed that 3,100 personnel are supposed to be present according to the staff of the Joint Control Commission (JCC) -- joint force in the region comprising Russian, Moldovan, and Transnistrian peacekeepers -- and that it is legally possible to increase the Russian contingent.
"There is such an option, and it is justified from the point of view of worsening security risks, including the terrorist threat, and at the same time, it is legally justified by the documents adopted as part of the activities of the JCC," Manakov further claimed, adding that this is possible at the expense of Russians permanently residing in the breakaway region.
Transnistria is an unrecognized breakaway region, which is internationally recognized as part of Moldova but has been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since a two-year conflict in 1990-1992.
A cease-fire agreement was signed in July 1992 between Chisinau and Moscow following the conflict, which installed a peacekeeping force in the region made up of Russian, Moldovan, and Transnistrian forces tasked with observing the cease-fire and other security arrangements.