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Joint Ukrainian-Moldovan Border Checkpoint Opened In Breakaway Transdniester Region

Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip (right) and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shake hands at the official opening of a joint border checkpoint at Kuchurgan-Pervomaisk.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip have opened a joint border checkpoint whose Moldovan side is in the breakaway region of Transdniester.

Poroshenko said after the ceremony at the Kuchurgan-Pervomaisk checkpoint on July 17 that Kyiv is ready to contribute to "the full restoration of Moldova's territorial integrity."

Separatist authorities in mainly Russian-speaking Transdniester and Russian lawmakers have condemned the plans to open the joint Ukrainian-Moldovan border checkpoint alleging it is a step toward an economic blockade.

Filip rejected the allegation calling it "mere speculation."

Moscow-backed Transdniester, which borders on Ukraine's Odesa region, declared independence from Moldova in 1990. The two sides fought a brief war in 1992 that ended when the Russian military intervened on the side of Transdniester, which is not recognized as an independent nation by any country.

Russia maintains a 1,200-strong military force in the region despite Moldova's repeated calls for it to be withdrawn and replaced with international peacekeepers.

Based on reporting by UNIAN and Interfax