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Moldova Condemns Russian Drills In Transdniester As 'Illegal'

Moldova's Defense Ministry has criticized recent Russian military exercises held in a separatist region, saying they were "illegal" and undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova.

Russian Army officers and separatist troops in the breakaway republic of Transdniester held antiterror training drills from July 27 to August 3. Separatist authorities said they wanted to learn from Russian troops.

The troops practiced several antiterrorist scenarios, including a response to a "terrorist seizure" of a peacekeepers' outpost. The live-fire drills also included landings with parachutes on the right bank of the Dniester River to "neutralize the terrorists who seized water treatment facilities in Tiraspol."

In a statement on August 5, the Moldovan ministry condemned the drills as "outside the norms of international law" and also called for fresh talks about transforming Russia's peacekeeping operation in Transdniester into a civilian mission. Some 1,000 Russian peacekeepers are stationed there.

Transdniester broke away from Moldova in 1990 over fears it would reunite with neighboring Romania. A war between Moldova and the separatists in 1992 in Transdniester left 1,500 people dead.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax

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