MOSCOW, September 11. /TASS/. Arrangements for the transportation of munitions from Transnistria’s territory may take a little more than a year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a joint news conference with Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nicolae Popescu on Wednesday.
"Today we shared with our colleagues our evaluations of the actions that have to be taken in this regard. These are delivering the corresponding equipment and experts, determining sources of financing, signing contracts, and all of this should be done with observance of the safety norms established by the Russian Armed Forces. It won’t work any other way. As for the terms, the preparatory work for determining it on paper and preparing for specific actions will take a little more than a year," he said.
The minister added that for this purpose contacts between the militaries are needed, and Russia is ready for such contacts.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier suggested renewing the process of ammunition recycling. The US also said it was ready to join this process. Moldovan President Igor Dodon welcomed the plans of renewing ammunition recycling that had been blocked by Tiraspol in 2004 after the escalation of tensions between the two banks of the Dniester River.
According to different estimates, there are thousands of tonnes of munitions stored in warehouses in the village of Cobasna. The task group of the Russian army in Transnistria guards these arms under the agreement between Russia and Moldova as of July 21, 1992, which also helps carry out the peacemaking operation on the Dniester River. Russian peacemakers ensure peace in the area of separation on the Dniester River together with the blue helmets of Moldova and Transnistria and a group of military observers from Ukraine.
Moldova’s Transnistrian quagmire
The Transnistrian conflict erupted in March 1992 when initial clashes occurred between Moldovan police and Transnistrian militia near the city of Dubossary, followed by an outbreak of armed hostilities. By summer, it had developed into a large-scale conflict in Bendery, where about 1,000 people were killed and tens of thousands were wounded and ended up as refugees.
The civil war was brought to an end following a peace agreement signed in Moscow in July 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the conflict zone. Negotiations on the conflict’s peaceful settlement known as the 5+2 format talks (Moldova, Transnistria, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Russia, Ukraine and observers from the US and the EU) followed.