MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. Russia sees no grounds to change the format of the existing peacekeeping mission in Transnistria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview published in Monday’s issue of the Kommersant daily.
"The unique peacekeeping operation in Transnistria has been proving its efficiency for 25 years," he said when asked to comment on possible deployment of a United Nations mission in the unrecognized republic. "There is no shooting there, no deaths. Any changes in its format will bring about nothing but a dangerous deterioration."
According to the Russian diplomat, people living in Transnistria are in favor of keeping the Russian peacekeeping mission in place. "All talk about possible changes in the existing format of the peacekeeping operation and withdrawal of the Russian military from the Dniester’s left bank has nothing to do with reality and ignores the opinion of Transnistria’s people who see the guarantee of their peaceful life in their presence," Karasin stressed.
Transnistria, a largely Russian-speaking region, broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its relations with Moldova’s central government in Chisinau have been highly mixed and extremely tense at times ever since then. In 1992 and 1993, tensions erupted into a bloody armed conflict that claimed the lives of hundreds of people on both sides.
The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Negotiations on the conflict’s peaceful settlement known as the 5+2 format talks (Moldova, Transnistria as parties to the conflict, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Russia and Ukraine as mediators, and the European Union and the United States as observers) started after that.
For the moment, a joint peacekeeping force is maintaining peace and stability in the buffer security zone of the Transnistrian conflict. Notably, no outbreaks of violence have been reported from that area after the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, which makes it possible for Chisinau and Tiraspol continue peace settlement talks.