Medvedev and Yanukovych plan to open borders to Transnistrian exports

Russia and Ukraine intend to annul border restrictions for Transnistrian goods. The intention is stipulated in the declaration on the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, which is to be signed by presidents Dmitri Medvedev and Viktor Yanukovych during the former’s visit to Kiyv on May 17-18, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported.

According to the Russian MFA, Russia and Ukraine cannot stay indifferent to the fate of 150,000 Russian citizens and 100,000 Ukrainian citizens that live in the Transnistrian region. Earlier the Tiraspol leader Igor Smirnov declared the move would be a very important support shown to Transnistria.

The Russian-Ukrainian declaration will outline the parties’ position as to the peace-keeping forces, which they consider should further stay in Transnistria. This will be a response to Chisinau’s proposal to replace them with international observers or troops. Sources within the Russian MFA said the declaration would also contain an appeal to the conflicting parties to refrain from unilateral actions and avoid an escalation of the situation.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta quotes Vladimir Yastrebchak, Tiraspol’s representative to the negotiations, who said earlier that the document between Russia and Ukraine would demonstrate that the conflict could be solved only in the 5+2 setting.

The borders were closed for Transnistrian exports in 2006 by the then Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko and the previous government of Moldova.

Transnistria is not recognized under international law. The legitimate authorities of Moldova lost control over the region in 1992. A 5+2 negotiation format was set to solve the conflict (including Moldova, Transnistrian, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE, plus the EU and the US), but no formal talks have been held in this setting since 2006.

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