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Officials In Moldova To Discuss Transdniester Checkpoints

Demonstrators in Moldova call for the removal of checkpoints controlled by Russian troops after the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old man at the Vadul Iui Voda checkpoint on January 1.
CHISINAU -- Officials representing all parties in the dispute between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transdniester are meeting to discuss elevated tensions at checkpoints between the region and the rest of the country.

The Joint Control Commission -- which includes military representatives of Moldova, Transdniester, and the Russian peacekeeping mission in the country -- are meeting on January 12 following the January 1 fatal shooting of a Moldovan man by a Russian peacekeeper at the Vadul Iui Voda checkpoint.

Eighteen-year-old Vadim Pisari was killed when he apparently failed to stop at the checkpoint.

On January 11, some 300 people demonstrated at the checkpoint, calling for the removal of such posts controlled by Russian soldiers.

Following the fatal shooting, Moldovan officials renewed longstanding calls for Moscow to transform its peacekeeping force into a civilian mission with an international mandate.

Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister for European Reintegration Eugen Carpov told RFE/RL on January 3 that the problem of the checkpoints will be discussed at the next session of the 5+2 international talks aimed at resolving the conflict in February.

The 5+2 format comprises the conflict sides -- Moldova and Transdniester -- along with Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), plus the European Union and the United States.

The present force includes troops from Moldova, Russia, and the self-proclaimed Transdniester Republic.

It was created by the 1992 cease-fire agreement that ended a conflict in the region that killed some 700 people.

Its mandate is to control a so-called security zone along the Dniester River, which separates Transdniester from the rest of Moldova.

The Moldovan government considers the presence of Russian troops on Moldovan territory to be illegal.
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