Vladimir Voronin (file photo) (RFE/RL)
CHISINAU, March 24, 2006 (RFE/RL) - Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said today that Russian troops stationed in the separatist Transdniester region have been illegally occupying Moldovan territory.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Voronin criticized Russia's failure to live up to its international commitments and withdraw from the breakaway region.
"Since January 1, 2002, the Russian Federation illegitimately and against all international norms has been occupying our country's territory," he said. "Until January 1, 2002, the OSCE Istanbul summit's decision [regarding the withdrawal of Russian arms and troops from Transdniester] was still valid, since the deadline [for withdrawal] had been extended at a 2001 OSCE summit [from December 31, 2001, to December 31, 2002]. But until today, neither the troops nor the weapons have been evacuated, and this is a very serious violation of international agreements."
Voronin also rejected claims that customs regulations introduced recently by Ukraine at its border with Transniester are threatening a humanitarian crisis in the breakaway region.
Voronin said the new rules, under which Ukrainian officials demand that Moldovan authorities clear all Transdniestrian shipments, only regard Transdniester's exports.
He said Transdniester's imports have not been hampered by the new regulations.