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Russian official: Moldova may lose Transdniestria due to rapprochement with Romania

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has warned Moldova of risks of losing its territorial integrity
A Moldovan with Romania and Moldova national flags EPA/DUMITRU DORU
A Moldovan with Romania and Moldova national flags

MOSCOW, July 8. /TASS/. Moldova risks losing its territorial integrity due to the rapprochement with Romania, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with the Kommersant daily on Friday after his visit to Moldova.

"The fact remains, it is obvious even to the fiercest supporters of the unification with Romania, that if Moldova takes a step towards Romania, the Trans-Dniester region will fall off at this steep turn," he said. If Moldovans want to join Romania, "then they had better let the Trans-Dniester region go amicably, and if they do not want to Romania, if they want to remain a sovereign state, a smart state that will protect all its citizens, then it will take years, but those years will not be in vain as they will be spent to restore territorial integrity," the politician said.

Rogozin said that it is impossible now to talk about the resumption of any talks on the Trans-Dniester region status: neither side is ready for it.

"We were very close to solving this issue, but then someone got scared of somebody. And the situation was reversed. I propose today to pursue the policy of small good deeds," the deputy prime minister said. "We must abstract ourselves from vague prospects and begin to address the issues important for people. These are the railway service, the border-crossing regime, the registration of goods, car numbers, much more. These natural relations must be allowed so that the people could feel some benefit from rapprochement. And when there is nothing, and we start to talk about the future status of the Trans-Dniester region within the Moldovan state - then it’s like the talk of the impotent about Kama Sutra."

Rogozin said earlier this week that the practice of small and useful things, such as the ease of travel and exchange of goods will benefit Moldova and Trans-Dniester region. "We believe that the practice of small, but useful things will be beneficial for both banks of the Dniester river, and the Russian side has been urging the Moldovan side to do such things and speed up the processes that are required in principle", he said at a meeting with the Trans-Dniester republic government. The deputy prime minister said that he meant, in particular, the ease of travel, the exchange of goods and registration of cargoes and products. "Hopefully, we are dealing with pragmatic partners in Chisinau", he said.

According to Rogozin, in recent years, communication with the Trans-Dniester authorities has taken place mainly in Moscow, because after the known events in Ukraine and in Odessa, it was only possible to get to the region through Chisinau. And there were some difficulties with that. "We mainly talked in Moscow, we maintained contact. My colleagues and representatives of ministries and departments were in contact with their Trans-Dniester colleagues, so we kept abreast of the developments", the Russian deputy prime minister said. Against this background, he said, his visit to Tiraspol was all the more important. It gives an opportunity to understand on site the scope of the current problems in the Trans-Dniester region and assess how the geopolitical situation affects the region. "This situation is obviously not beneficial to the Trans-Dniester geopolitical status," Rogozin said. "On the contrary, there are difficulties associated with the tightening of the blockade and isolation.

However, we see that you are determined to fight and defend the interests of your people." The deputy prime minister added that the Russian leadership is constantly interested in the Trans-Dniester region affairs. "Our compatriots, our citizens, native to us people live here. So, no matter how difficult the political situation is, you can always rely on the Russian Federation", he said.

Trans-Dniester, 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.