MOSCOW, March 31, /ITAR-TASS/. Tensions around the situation in Transdniestria are being whipped up deliberately to divert attention of the international community from the situation in Ukraine, Russian Permanent Representative at the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said on Monday, adding that such tactics were fraught with unpredictable consequences.
“I see that over the entire period of the Ukrainian crisis attempts have been made both from Kiev and from outside to shift the focus,” he told the Russia 24 news channel. “At first, when acts of lawlessness were committed in Kiev and in Ukraine’s eastern cities, these forces managed to shift the focus to Crimea. But the situation there developed differently. Now, the situation in Crimea looks clear but another bugbear has emerged - the alleged concentration of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine. I think the recent inspections have convincingly demonstrated the groundlessness of these fears. It looks like Transdiestria is another such bugbear alleging that Ukraine is to be followed by Transdniestria. They say it also had a referendum and Transdniestria’s majority spoke for parting from Moldova as far back as 2006.”
The Russian diplomat reminded that the Transdiestrian status was the subject of negotiations in the 5+2 format and Ukraine was a participant in that format among others. “But along with it we see economic blockade of Transdniestria, of which Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke during his conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Chizhov noted. “Transdniestria is a rather narrow strip of land between Ukraine and Moldova. The economically developed part of the former Moldovan Soviet Republic is now living through economic hardships.”
“The path of heightening tension may be fraught with unpredictable consequences,” the Russian diplomat warned.
NATO’s statements that Russia is keeping “very many Russian troops in a state of very high readiness” on the Ukrainian border are no more than “scary stories”, Chizhov told.
American Senator John McCain’s statements that the world now has to closely watch Russia’s actions with regard to Moldova are “a characteristic example” of stove-piping, he said.
“We hear the same from the NATO military commanders, when their supreme commander says that very many Russian troops have been amassed on the Ukrainian border and they are in a state of very high combat readiness. Such a scary story,” Chizhov said.
He recalled that when he had advised American politicians to “watch Alaska”, it was just a joke.
Chizhov stressed that the countries which have the most developed trade and economic ties with Russia want these relations to develop further and not to be affected by sanctions.
“It’s not only about energy supplies - oil and gas - even though we should say frankly that this is a big part of Russian export. But while supplying oil and gas to EU countries, we buy their machinery and equipment, durables and a wide range of other goods. So trade is a mutual thing,” the diplomat said.
“Those who demand punishment for Russia live in a different world, in a world of political constructions and I would even say political illusions,” he said.
“It’s very regrettable that in the 21st century - and we are reminded all the time that we are living in the 21st century - geopolitical considerations begin to prevail over the values for the sake of which all the efforts are taken - over respect for human rights as we can see in Crimea and eastern regions of Ukraine, over the freedom of mass media when assessments of the Kiev authorities’ decision to turn off Russian television channels change diametrically within a matter of several days, and over the economy. That’s real life. All the rest is immaterial,” Chizhov said.