Moldovan president asks Russia to withdraw troops from its territory

Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu Thursday asked Russian Federation to withdraw its troops and armament from Moldova’s territory.

“The Russian Federation, in its capacity of legal successor of the Soviet Union, shall withdraw its troops and armament from Moldova’s territory unconditionally, urgently and transparently,” read a presidential decree signed on the day by Ghimpu.

The presidential decree is referring to the issue of Transnistria, a breakaway region in eastern Moldova with a large population of ethnic Russians and ethnic Ukrainians. It declared independence from Moldova in 1990, but is not recognized as a sovereign country by the international community.

Ghimpu said for several times after he was appointed acting president last September that solving Transnistria’s problem entailed the evacuation of the Russian army and at the same time, Russia should stop supporting Transnistria and should remove all armament from the army there.

As of early 2010 Russia had 1,500 troops on Transnistrian territory. Some patrol peace jointly with Moldovan and Transnistrian soldiers and Ukrainian military observers, while others stand guard around Soviet-era ammunition dumps.

The OSCE has remained involved in negotiations over Transnistria’s status since the conflict began shortly after Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, but a long series of negotiations have thus far failed to produce a final status agreement. The talks in the “five- plus-two” format with the participation of Moldova, Transnistria, Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE, the European Union and the United States, collapsed in April 2006 and were postponed indefinitely.

According to the same decree posted on the official website of President of Moldova, the day of June 28, 1940, when the Soviet Red Army entered Moldova, is declared as the day of the Soviet occupation and Moldova will annually mark the day on June 28.

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