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Moldova Warns Against Artificially Created ‘Tensions’ In Transdniester

Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Eugen Carpov in his office in Chisinau.
Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Eugen Carpov in his office in Chisinau.
CHISINAU -- A top Moldovan government official has denounced a "propaganda" campaign aimed, he says, at creating "tensions" in the country's breakaway region of Transdniester.

Deputy Prime Minister Eugen Carpov raised his concerns in an interview with RFE/RL in Chisinau on April 16, amid the escalating crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The mainly Russian-speaking Transdniester declared independence in 1990.

The two sides fought a brief war in 1992 that ended when the Russian military intervened on the side of Transdniester.

In a 2006 referendum, Transdniester reasserted its demand for independence.

Carpov said there were certain circles in both Moscow and Tiraspol that want Transdniester to follow the Crimean scenario.

Russia annexed the peninsula in March after local residents voted in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Carpov cited Transdniestrian leader Yevgeny Shevchuk as saying earlier this month that the only possible settlement of the Transdniester conflict would be a separation of the region from Moldova and its annexation by Russia.

In March, Moldova's President Nicolae Timofti warned Russia against any such move, saying it would be making a "mistake."

Carpov said allegations by Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, that Transdniester was under "blockade" are "not true" -- both economically and in terms of freedom of movement.

Carpov added that the Ukrainian crisis has affected the security situation in the region, quoting Ukrainian sources as saying residents from Transdniester participated in "provocative actions" in Ukraine.

Carpov said he could not confirm media reports alleging that large numbers of Russian citizens were coming to Transdniester, possibly to train to be pro-Russian demonstrators in Ukraine or even in Moldova.

Carpov also suggested that the negotiation process for a settlement of the Transdniester conflict has been affected by events in Ukraine.

This process, known as the 5+2, includes the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia, and Ukraine as mediators, with the European Union and the United States as observers.

Carpov said that, while Chisinau and Tiraspol are holding "more or less" regular bilateral meetings -- the last occurred on April 13 -- Tiraspol used a "pretext" to postpone the 5+2 meeting planned for earlier this month in Vienna.

He said the sides involved in the negotiations are working on a new date, "probably in May."

In the last few years, Carpov has been pursuing a policy of confidence-building measures directly with Tiraspol.

He said he would pursue this policy, calling for political progress including the creation of a single economic space that would join Moldova and its breakaway region.

Carpov insisted that Russia's annexation of Transdniester would be "unacceptable." Ultimately, Transdniester should be part of Moldova, he insisted, saying "there is no alternative."

Written by Antoine Blua based on reporting by RFE/RL correspondent Robert Coalson

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