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Moldova summons Russian ambassador after reports Moldovans being recruited to Russian army

April 01, 2016, 19:39 UTC+3 CHISINAU

The diplomat is summoned by Moldovan Foreign Ministy to check the information on recruitment of Moldovan nationals to the Russian army for future service in the security zone

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© TASS/Sergey Karpov

CHISINAU, April 1 /TASS/. The Moldovan Foreign Ministry has summoned Russian Ambassador to Chisinau Farit Mukhametshin to check the information on recruitment of Moldovan nationals to the Russian army for future service in the security zone (set up between Moldova and its unrecognized Republic of Transdniestria), the Moldovan Foreign Ministry reported on its website on Friday.

"Deputy Foreign Minister Lilian Darii has been perplexed with that information and said that it was a violation of Moldova’s legislation and norms of international law. He asked the Russian ambassador to interfere in the situation," the Moldovan Foreign Ministry press service quoted Darii as saying.

In this connection, the Moldovan diplomat repeated Chisinau’s official stance to the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Transdniestria: the Moldovan government demands the withdrawal of the Russian military contingent from the republic’s territory and transformation of the peacekeeping operation into an international civil mission.

Russia sent its peacekeepers to Transdniestria in 1992 during its conflict with Moldova to stop the fratricidal war, which claimed more than a thousand human lives and turned tens of thousands of people into refugees. Transdnietria has not seen a single outbreak of violence since the Russian peacekeepers arrived. That makes the peacekeeping operation in Transdniestria one of the most effective in Europe. At present, the Russian servicemen are guarding peace in the conflict zone alongside the blue helmets from Moldova and Transdniestria.

The Russian peacekeepers in Transdniestria area maintain peace in the region as part a joint peacekeeping force together with 492 Transdniestrian troopers and 355 Moldovan servicemen and 10 military observers from Ukraine.

Another task of the Russian peacekeepers is to guard ammunition depots near Kolbasna village. According to various estimates, more than 20,000 tonnes of arms were brought in there after the Soviet troops had withdrawn from Europe. Moldova insists on full withdrawal of Russian troops and arms from Transdniestria. It wants to transform the current peacekeeping operation into an international civil multi-ethnic mission. Ukraine supports the Moldovan government in Chisinau. The Ukrainian government has recently denounced an agreement with Russia that served as basis for supplying the Russian peacekeepers to Transdniestria.

Yevgeny Shevchuk, the president of Transdniestria, said earlier this week that the Russian peacekeeping operation proceeded in difficult conditions. "It is a dividing force in extremely hot seats of tension, namely the city of Bendery and the Dubossary district where the military and law enforcers from Moldova and Transdniestria function simultaneously. The probability of a conflict there is extremely high. How can we match against them if not with the peacekeepers? We have had the experience of civil observers. They vanished for good after the first shots had been fired in Bendery back in 1992," he said.

Shevchuk believes that Moldova’s first persons keep stressing the need to withdraw the Russian military from Transdniestria at the request of western countries.

Cord Meier Claude, the OSCE Special Representative for the Transdniestrian settlement, voiced the position of Germany, which is currently holding the OSCE chairmanship, on the settlement during visits to Moldova and Transdniestria earlier this year.

He recommended that both Moldova and Transdniestria focus on the solution on most urgent socio-economic problems, which are crucial to the well-being of ordinary people. Vitaly Ignatiev, the deputy foreign minister of Transdniestria, supported that approach. He said that back in 2012 Transdniestria suggested "the tactics of small steps" aimed at building confidence between the sides. "Small but concrete practical steps are better than huge public declarations," Ignatiev said.

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