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Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine Voice Concern Over Russian Presence


"After 26 years Moldova still has an occupied territory," the country's speaker, Andrian Candu, said. "The same reality is faced by Georgia and Ukraine." (file photo)

Pro-EU parliamentary leaders from Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia say the continued presence of Russian troops in their countries is destabilizing.

The parliament speakers from the three countries issued a joint statement at the end of a one-day security conference in Moldova's capital, Chisinau, voicing their deep concern about the Russian military presence in the three former Soviet republics.

The statement said the three countries were "profoundly concerned about Russian troops" in Moldova, "and Russian occupation and other forms of military intervention" in parts of Georgia and Ukraine.

The statement also condemned Russia's "coordinated foreign support for separatist movements," and social-media "operations" to discredit pro-European governments.

"After 26 years Moldova still has an occupied territory," the country's speaker, Andrian Candu, said. "The same reality is faced by Georgia and Ukraine."

Russia has some 1,500 troops stationed in the Moldova's separatist Transdniester region, which declared independence from Chisinau in 1990 with Moscow's backing.

Russia claims they need to stay in Transdniester to ensure peace and to protect huge Soviet-era ammunition depots located in the area.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008, which led to two breakaway Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, declaring independence. Russia has since been supporting the regions financially and militarily.

Ukraine has been in a conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,300 since April 2014.

Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia all signed Association Agreements with the European Union in 2014, amid strong criticism from Russia.

On March 2, the parliamentary leaders reasserted their commitment to the EU, calling it "the most efficient instrument to ensure prosperity, security and stable and democratic development in the long-term for our countries."

With reporting by AP
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