Moldovan President confirms intention to achieve withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria
Moldovan President-elect Maia Sandu intends to seek the withdrawal of the Russian Task Force from Transnistria, reports RBC Ukraine. Sandu stressed that Moldovan government had the same opinion, and its position is nothing new.
"This is the official position of the Republic of Moldova, which has not changed, and I will continue to promote it. This armed force must be withdrawn, and the munitions must be removed. It is very important to restore the territorial integrity and independence of the Republic of Moldova," she said on air of the TV channel "Moldova-1".
In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the plans of the Moldovan President-elect to withdraw Russian troops from Transnistria are aimed at undermining efforts for a peaceful settlement in the region.
According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, thanks to the 25 years presence of Russian peacekeepers in the region, stability has been maintained and blood has not been spilled.
"The mandate of the peacekeeping operation clearly links the duration of our participation in it to achieving political agreements on the settlement of the conflict. There is still a long way to go to that," Russian media quoted Zakharova as saying.
Zakharova noted that the presence of the Russian military in Transnistria is also dictated by the need to protect military equipment storage depos. According to her, it is inappropriate to try to create a stir around the issue.
Earlier, the newly elected President of Moldova Maia Sandu reminded that despite the country's agreement to choose a "soft approach" in negotiations on the Transdniestrian settlement, after 28 years the conflict had not been resolved. Sandu advised Ukraine to take into account Moldova's experience in Transnistria.
The first round of the presidential elections in Moldova was held on November 1. Incumbent President Igor Dodon has repeatedly reiterated his openly pro-Russian stance, and in February this year said he was ready to grant "a fairly large autonomy to Transnistria."