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Foreign Policy Diary ‘The New War of Transnistria’

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Development of Ukrainian Crisis has crossed the point when it influences on European security in indirect mode. This year US-backed Kiev government has started to spread the conflict in new theatres on the map of Europe. One of these theaters is Transnistria and Moldova. Transnistria is a breakaway state located mostly on a strip of land between the River Dniester and the eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine. Since its declaration of independence in 1990, and especially after the War of Transnistria in 1992, it has been governed as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR). After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between the newly created Moldova and the de facto sovereign state of PMR escalated into a military conflict that started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire because of Russia in July 1992. As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarized zone, comprising twenty localities on both sides of the river. Also, the Russian peacekeeping mission was established in the region.

On June 8, 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a law that prohibits transit of Russian military troops to Transnistria. The law denounces the existing agreement of 1995 that allowed the transit of Russian military troops through Ukrainian territory. As a consequence, Poroshenko blocked around 1,500 Russian peacekeepers currently stationed in Transnistria. The air route through Moldova is not a good option either. The government in Chisinau doesn’t recognize Transnistria as an independent state and also has concerns about the Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria. At the same time, both Ukrainian and Moldovan forces increased their activity near the border with Transnistria. Furthermore, Kiev has decided to deploy S-300 air defense systems in the Odessa Region. This fact puts Russian aircraft, flying in and out of Transnistria, in danger of getting shot down. Malaysian Boeing incident shows that ukrainian cynicism is measureless. The PMR is currently facing a blockade on all sides: from the West the TMR is blockaded by the US-controlled Moldova and from the East by Ukraine.

To make things worse, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, well-known for his anti-Russian rhetoric and propensity for narcotics, was appointed as the governor of Odessa. Saakashvili might start war with Transnistria, using similar methods that he used during the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, which started when Georgia, under his leadership, invaded South Ossetia, a tiny nation at the heart of the Caucasus. Georgia in the night suddenly attacked the city of Tskhinval using a lot of systems of volley fire Grad. After that Georgian troops entered the city and committed numerous crimes against civilians. According to residents of Tskhinvali, Georgians primarily killed civilians and then destroyed the city. It is so similar to the methods used by Ukrainian armed forces today.

This could lead to a further escalation of the conflict and destabilize regional security due to a couple of reasons. First, Romania tries to take in Moldova and proclaim so-called Romanian Unity. Secondly, Romania is a NATO member, which means if Bucharest gets involved in a conflict, the entire military alliance would have to back Romania. Considering there are 1,500 members Russian peacekeeping contingent in Transnistria, the involvement of NATO, Russia and Ukraine in the region might lead to grave consequences for everyone. When Saakashvili adds fuel to the fire and starts a conflict in Transnistria, its flames could spread throughout the whole Europe.

While right now a hot war is not imminent, the situation there has potentially some very dangerous implications and could result in a full-scale conflict. The one of the main deterrents of Ukrainian is the DPR and LPR reaction, backed by Russia as a matter of fact. On June 16, Minister of Foreign Affairs of DPR Aleksandr Kofman stated that DPR will go offensive in case of Ukrainian aggression against PMR. However, if open violence does not break out, the population of the TMR is condemned to slowly accept a long-term blockade of the state. Additional tension is created in connection with the local elections. There is a high risk of anti-constitutional measures if key members of the top corrupt ruling coalition will lose the elections. Provoking protests, riots, unlawful detentions of opposition members they can use all the methods that took place in the parliamentary elections a few months earlier. Western-backed notorious oligarchs Plahotnyuk and Filat and other supporters of European Coalition will do their best to continue to usurp power in the state. In case they need to divert the attention of the global community and its own population, they will distract a new war. According to the experts, Moldovan government resigned some days ago to hand over power to the faction which is ready to go to the aggravation of the confrontation with the PMR.

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