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Breakaway Transnistria leader confirms republic leans towards Russia

The leader of Transnistria praises Russia's humanitarian projects in the region
Tiraspol, Transdniestria EPA/STRINGER
Tiraspol, Transdniestria

TIRASPOL, August 30. /TASS/. The leader of the breakaway enclave of Transnistria confirmed on Tuesday that the republic remained invariably committed to its pro-Russian foreign policy course.

"The vector in the development of our society, determined at a referendum ten years ago, has remained unchanged," Yevgeny Shevchuk told a news conference, referring to the referendum in 2006 where 97% of Transnistrian residents voted in favor of independence and subsequent accession to Russia.

"Our cooperation has ascended to a new level. Russia is implementing rather substantial humanitarian projects here. We see how many kindergartens and schools have been built," the president said ahead of the republic’s Independence Day to be celebrated on September 2.

"This is the biggest investment in republic’s infrastructure in the past 26 years," he stressed. The president also said that a new large-scale project to update the land development system will be shortly launched in the republic with Russia’s help to make its agriculture more efficient and enhance food safety.

Shevchuk also highlighted the role of Russian peacekeepers in maintaining stability on the banks of the Dniester River, and expressed gratitude to the Russian leadership for their support for the republic, even during times when Russia itself has faced difficulties.

The Transnistrian conflict started in March 1992 when initial clashes occurred between Moldovan police and Transnistrian militia near the city of Dubossary, which were followed by an outbreak of armed hostilities. By summer, it had developed into a large-scale conflict in Bendery, where about a thousand people were killed and tens of thousands were wounded and became refugees.

The civil war was stopped following a peace agreement signed in Moscow in July 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area.

Since then, they have been maintaining peace and calm in the region, together with their Moldovan and Transnistria colleagues, thus allowing Chisinau and Tiraspol to conduct negotiations on settling the conflict regarding the breakaway republic.