US ‘very closely’ watching Moldovan breakaway region seeking Putin’s help

Moldova’s pro-European government dismissed Transnistria’s Pro-Russian event as propaganda

Arpan Rai
Thursday 29 February 2024 08:40 GMT
Vadim Krasnoselsky, the head of Transnistria - Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region, gives a speech during a congress of Transnistrian deputies in Tiraspol
Vadim Krasnoselsky, the head of Transnistria - Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region, gives a speech during a congress of Transnistrian deputies in Tiraspol (AFP via Getty Images)

The US is “very closely” watching the Moldovan region of Transnistria which is seeking Russia’s help as it looks to breakaway from the European country, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Wednesday.

“Given Russia’s increasingly aggressive role in Europe, we are watching Russia’s actions in Transnistria and the broader situation there very closely," Mr Miller said at a press briefing, using the Moldovan name for the region.

Transnistria, Moldova’s separatist region, turned to Russia on Wednesday and asked for help to aid its economy withstand Moldovan "pressure” as hundreds of officials gathered to hold a congress meeting.

The meeting was dismissed by Moldova’s pro-European Chisinau government as a propaganda event aimed to garner attention and headlines. Chisinau is the capital of the Republic of Moldova.

Mr Miller said: "The United States firmly supports Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and we continue to encourage Chisinau and Tiraspol to work together and identify solutions to pressing concerns of communities on both sides of the Nistru (river).”

The rare meeting in the regional capital, Tiraspol, asked the Russian Duma to “implement measures for defending Transnistria amid increasing pressure from Moldova, given the fact that more than 220,000 Russian citizens reside in Transnistria".

Moldova is eyeing the EU candidacy and rolled out new custom duties on 1 January this year on imports to and exports from Transnistria, which borders Ukraine and is not recognised by any United Nations member countries, including Russia which maintains close ties to the region.

But Transnistria is now simmering with regional tensions as the autonomous statelet looks to Moscow, which has backed it financially and diplomatically for three decades now. Even though Transnistria borders war-hit Ukraine to the east, it continues to hold more than a thousand Russian soldiers stationed since a brief war in 1992.

Moldova, an increasingly European entity, has strained ties with Russia as the Chisinau administration has continued its pro-European regional loyalty and accused Moscow of trying to destabilise it.

The country’s president Maia Sandu rallied for a peaceful resolution to the separatist conflict.

"What the government is doing today is making small steps for the economic reintegration of the country," she said.

However, Russia has defended the interests of Transniestria’s citizens and termed them a priority and that the request would be reviewed carefully, the RIA news agency reported.

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