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Moldovan NGOs try to block peacekeepers checkpoint at which local resident died

January 03, 2012, 18:50 UTC+3

The protesters also demand punishment of the Russian peacekeeper who opened fire and lethally injured the boy

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CHISINAU, January 3 (Itar-Tass) —— The Joint Control Commission supervising the peacekeeping operation in Transdniestria has decided to reinforce the peacekeepers post where Moldovan citizen Vadim Pisar was injured lethally last Sunday.

The decision was made at an urgent meeting of the Joint Control Commission due to the attempts of about 100 protesters to block the checkpoint’s work. The protesters include friends of the deceased Moldovan, Transdniestrian conflict veterans and representatives of non-governmental organizations and political parties of Moldova. They demand from the Moldovan authorities to remove all the peacekeepers checkpoints within a week and threaten to remove the checkpoints by themselves in the case the demand was ignored. The protesters also demand punishment of the Russian peacekeeper who opened fire and lethally injured the boy.

“The picketing of the checkpoint by representatives of Moldovan non-governmental organizations seriously complicates the work of the servicemen,” Acting Transdniestrian Cochairman of the Joint Control Commission Oleg Belyakov said.

In his words, the protesters actually stopped the operation of the checkpoint for two hours. Military observers of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Transdniestria had to visit the checkpoint for settling the situation together with representatives of the combined military command of the peacekeeping forces.

“The sides decided to unblock the checkpoint themselves. Moldovan police are trying to convince fellow citizens that the protests must stop,” Belyakov said.

The Moldovan authorities are investigating the incident. A task force of the police commissariat and the Dubossary district prosecutor’s office, representatives of the Joint Control Commission supervising the peacekeeping operation and the command of the joint peacekeeping force of Moldova, Russia and Transdniestria are holding the investigation.

The incident happened at the ninth peacekeepers post on a bridge across the Dniester River, near the town of Vadul-lui-Voda, at 7:15 a.m. local time (9:15 a.m. Moscow time) on January 1. Two teenagers from the Pyryta village on the eastern bank of the Dniester River were riding towards Chisinau. When the car entered the bridge, the driver ignored the stop road sign at the peacekeepers post and disobeyed the demand to pull over. About 20 minutes later the car returned and drove on without stopping. The peacekeepers post commander fired into the air in warning before firing at the car. The peacekeepers called an ambulance and the boy was taken to the Chisinau hospital. He died of a big loss of blood.

The joint peacekeeping force of Moldova, Russia and Transdniestria was deployed in the conflict zone in compliance with the agreement of July 21, 1992.

On July 29, 1992, the first peacekeepers from Russia – Pskov and Tula paratroopers – landed on the Tiraspol airfield. They separated the warring sides and put an end to the fratricidal war, which started from clashes between the Moldovan police and Transdniestrian volunteers in March 1992 and developed in large-scale fighting in Bendery within several months. About 1,000 people died and thousands were wounded. There were also thousands of refugees.

The Russian and Moldovan presidents signed the agreement "On Principles of the Peace Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transdniestrian Region of the Republic of Moldova" in Moscow on July 21, 1992. The agreement started the peacekeeping operation in the region. The joint peacekeeping force is providing peace and stability in Transdniestria. The force is made of 335 servicemen of Russia, 453 servicemen of Moldova, 490 servicemen of Transdniestria and ten military observers of Ukraine. The peacekeeping operation is unique, as there has not been a single outbreak of violence all through the operation period. The lull enables Chisinau and Tiraspol to discuss the peace settlement of the conflict.

The Russian contingent had 2,400 servicemen in 1992. Yet it was reduced to two battalions in 1997 and Russia unilaterally cut its contingent to 500 servicemen in 1998 in compliance with the Odessa agreements. Transdniestrian authorities insist that the number of Russian servicemen must be increased, while Moldova proposes to replace the peacekeepers with civilian observers.

The unrecognized republic of Transdniestria established a new national holiday, The Day of the Deployment of the Russian Peacekeeping Force, on November 29, 2011.

The republic said that the new holiday was established as a token of gratitude for the weighty contribution of Russia to the provision of peace and security throughout Transdniestria.

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