TIRASPOL, April 02. /ITAR-TASS/. The Transnistria Republic would not take retaliatory measures against Ukraine’s new authorities that have restricted the movement of Transnistrian residents, President of the unrecognized republic Yevgeny Shevchuk told ITAR-TASS in an exclusive interview.
“In March, the Ukrainian border guards refused passage to more than 200 Transnistrian residents who had Russian passports. About 200,000 Russian citizens and almost 100,000 Ukrainian live in our republic. Many have family ties in the neighboring countries, and these measures contradict the good neighborly relations norms, they create tension,” Shevchuk said. He cited data, suggesting that due to these restrictions the passenger flow towards Ukraine has recently decreased by five times, and trade turnover dropped by one-fourth.
“Such actions of Ukraine, which is a guarantor at the Transnister settlement negotiations, look unseemly,” the Transnistrian leader said. He recalled that many important agreements, including on the freedom of movement between Chisinau and Tiraspol, had been concluded with mediation of Kiev, Moscow and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“And now Ukraine itself introduces restrictions on the movement of Russian citizens! It’s strange that the European Union and United States that participate in the negotiations and, as we know, are fervent defenders of human rights, have not responded in any way to this. We see that they only react when it pays,” Shevchuk said. According to him, the Transnistria authorities have proposed to the new leadership of Ukraine to meet and discuss the situation.
“We’ve asked them to receive our representatives who are ready to show them any facilities in order to dispel the wild rumors in the press that the Transnistria region, where the armed forces comprise only several thousand troops, is preparing to attack Ukraine. I think hardly anyone will believe that such plans are nurtured by 1,000 Russian military stationed in our republic and who are on permanent duty at peacekeeping posts, ensuring security in the conflict’s area of separation, guarding ammunition depots at Cobasna that remain there since the Soviet period. However, they’ve refused to talk to us,” Shevchuk noted. He said that instead the Ukrainian side had installed fortified block posts on the border and made attempts to reconnoitre the Transnistria territory using drones, one of which had recently been downed.
Shevchuk stressed that the Transnistria Republic “is interested in the earliest stabilization of the situation in the neighboring country and does not intend to take retaliatory restriction measures against Ukrainian citizens."