Kiev and Moscow Can Take Single Stand on Transnistria

By Svetlana Gamova

The USA initiates a discussion on the peacekeeping mission of the Russian Federation within Dniester


The OSCE Ministerial Council has recently adopted a declaration on Transnistria, aimed to enhance trust between the Parties. The US delegation called to start discussion on reformatting of Dniester peacekeeping mission. Transnistria and Russia are against such prospect. In Kiev they do not exclude that most likely they shall support Moscow. Ukraine promises during its chairmanship in the OSCE next year to deal actively with Transnistria conflict. The NG source in the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry reported that for this Ukrainian OSCE delegation provides two “Transnistrian” envoys.


Adopted during a session in Dublin declaration is the first one for the last 10 years. It was signed by the representatives of 57 countries. Everybody agreed that for final conflict regulation they need preliminary measures – to enhance between the countries and eliminate obstacles on the way of free movement of goods and services. Moldavian delegation reminded everyone present about non-accomplishment by Russia of the liabilities to withdraw from the Republic of Moldova of its armed forces, as well as about growing need to transform acting peacekeeping mechanism into civil and compact multinational mission in accordance with the international mandate. The delegation of the European Union and the USA supported Kishinev. Americans noted importance to start the discussions about the process of transformation of the current peacekeeping mission.


Meanwhile Moscow considers that the reason of non-resolution of the conflict is different. Yesterday the Head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov during the meeting with Vladimir Putin’s authorized representatives in the Academy of National Economy noted that the main problem of Transnistrian regulation is non-willingness of Kishinev to grant Transnistria a special status: “Political plan should include the point of Kishinev’s refusal of the law of 2005, in which it is suggested to solve Transnistria problem within the framework of a unitary state, i.e. without special status of Transnistria. This is probably the main problem (of the regulation)”, - quotes Interfax the comments of Lavrov.


The case is about finalization of the military mission in Dniester, substituting it with police or civil mission, from the middle of 90-s.


But lately suggestions on transformation of the peacekeeping mission have sounded like demands, at least Kishinev insists on it, blaming Russian peacekeepers in support of Transnistria separatists, and Moscow in non-willingness to leave this region, covering with the need to protect the citizens of Transnistria. Brussels and Washington support Moldavian authorities. But Tiraspol opposes, keeping referring to the referendums during which the citizens of the non-recognized Republic voted for the Russian peacekeepers wouldn’t leave the region as warrantors of peace.


Foreign Affairs Minister of Transnistria Nina Shtanski has recently suggested increasing their number. Russia supports Transnistria. The Vice Prime Minister, the representative of the Russian Federation on Transnistria Dmitry Rogozin during his visit to Tiraspol assured Transnistrian people: Russian PF shall present there as long as it takes. Recently, Rogozin has been supported by the Head of the General Headquarters of the Russian Federation General-Colonel Valery Gerasimov, having declared that Russia shall not refuse of participation in peacekeeping operations in those countries, where this work is conducted. In Transnistria they evaluated this as follows: Russia underlined that peacekeeping operation in Transnistria should proceed in previous format despite the remarks of Moldavian authorities.


On the eve the President of Moldova Nicolae Timofti declared that Russian military presence in Transnistria violates the rights of Moldova citizens. Earlier Defense Minister of Moldova Vitalie Marinuta supported the idea for the joint peacekeeping forces to be substituted with multinational mission of civilian observers. Within the interview for Moldavian Internet-edition UNIMEDIA Marinuta noted: “I consider that peacekeepers are not urgent for Dniester”.


In reply Transnistria set an issue on introduction to Benders, the city located on the right bank of Dniester, subordinated to Tiraspol, troops of Transnistrian peacekeepers. As the co-Chairman of UCC from Transnistria Oleg Beliakov noted during the interview to the informational agency “Transnistria News”, this measure is reasoned by violation by Kishinev of parity of powers in the city: “Presence of Moldavian police is enhanced in Moldova. It has Russian and Moldavian peacekeepers, but no Transnistrian ones”. Beliakov considers “the only correct thesis for Transnistrian party – till final regulation there can be no change of peacekeeping mission format”.


Let’s remind that a reserve troop of Transnistrian contingency was withdrawn from the Safety Zone after Odessa treaty in 1998, according to which the number of Moldavian and Transnistrian peacekeepers was reduced. Joint peacekeeping forces from the beginning of peacekeeping operation in 1992 comprised 5.5 thousand of military men. They included 3100 Russian peacekeepers and 1200 from Transnistria as well as Moldova. In 1998 the number of Transnistrian and Moldavian peacekeepers was reduced to 500.


The Transnistrian Security Committee claims that the situation in the Safety Zone, which is controlled by the peacekeepers, is getting more complicated. Recently, the press-service of this department has reported another incident – Moldavian forces tried to cross without sanctions Transnistrian border point. The existence of security threats for Transnistria from Moldova was proved for the NG by the Minister of Transnistrian KBG Vladislav Finagin.


Neighboring Ukraine is well informed about this being together with Russia is a mediator and warrantor of Transnistrian conflict regulation. Kiev declares that after becoming the OSCE Chairman in 2013 it shall specially control the process of the conflict regulation. One Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry representative noted for NG that for this Ukrainian delegation of the OSCE shall include two envoys on Transnistria – except for special envoy of Ukrainian President on Moldova – Transnistria regulation Igor Kharchenko.


“The case is not about fast reformation of peacekeeping forces” – noted for NG the Vice Head of the Main Department for Managing the Issues of Constitutional-Legal Modernization of the administration of the President for Ukraine, Director of the Center for Civil Community Issues Study Vitaly Kulik. “To do that, we need will of all the parties involved. In due time Medvedev, being the President and Yanukovych made a joint statement on Transnistria, having promised to synchronize actions in this direction. I think that Kiev and Moscow shall follow this agreement at least regarding peacekeeping mission”, -  suggested Kulik.


We should note that Tiraspol as well as Kishinev counts on Kiev’s support. By this Transnistrian citizens hope that Ukraine shall not leave its citizens, inhabiting the region (one third of Transnistria population is Ukrainian people), and Moldova hopes that Ukraine won’t risk to oppose the EU and the USA, which are in addition observers within the talks of Kishinev and Tiraspol. Although considering unexpected turn of Kiev towards the Customs Union (evidently with the help of Moscow), then accordance of the actions regarding Russian peacekeepers at Dniester don’t seem to be so prospectless.


Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from Nezavisinaya Gazeta