Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicolae Popescu said that Moldova insists on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria, noting that achieving this goal remains one of the most critical priorities for Moldova. "The Russian military presence in the Transnistrian region of Moldova contradicts the principle of neutrality enshrined in the constitution of our country," said Popescu at a press conference in Moscow after the meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on September 11.
Speaking about the Russian weapons that are kept in the military warehouses in the Cobasna village, Popescu noted that "these munitions pose a constant threat to the citizens of Moldova, as well as to the whole region." At the same time, the Moldovan Minister welcomed Russia's readiness to resume dialogue with Chisinau on the removal and disposal of these munitions.
Popescu proposed to discuss this issue soon both in a bilateral format and with the involvement of international partners, including the OSCE. Russia and Moldova signed the agreement on the destruction of ammunition in the warehouses of the former Russian 14th army in Transnistria in 1997.
On 22 June 2018, the UN General Assembly ratified a resolution which calls on Russia to withdraw its troops from Moldova. The Russian soldiers are stationed in the territory of the so-called “Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic”. The resolution was supported by 64 states, including Ukraine.
Chisinau wants to reach an agreement with Kyiv for the Russian troops to pull out through a corridor in Ukrainian territory. Kyiv has expressed its willingness to provide such a corridor. However, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia will never agree to wrap up its “peacekeeping mission” in Transnistria.
Transnistria, where the Russian-speaking population is the majority, declared independence from Moldova in 1990. Russia supports the separatist regime in the region and refers to the presence of its troops as a “peacekeeping operation”. However, the international community recognizes Transnistria as part of Moldova.
At the OSCE Istanbul Summit in 1999, Russia undertook to withdraw its troops and weapons from Transnistria but did not follow through with it.