Pro-Russian Separatists in Moldova Alarm Romania

After Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region on Wednesday sought to join Russia, Romania’s President repeated that Romania firmly upholds Moldova’s territorial integrity.

As armed clashes worsen in eastern Ukraine, and after parliament in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria on Wednesday formally asked to join Russia, Romania has expressed growing concern about the situation on its borders.

“Romania entirely supports the independence and the teritorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova,” President Traian Basescu said on Wednesday.

Basescu spoke soon after Transnistrian Supreme Council officially asked Moscow to annex the mainly Russian-speaking region, which split away from Moldova in 1990.

Romania fears that after taking over the strategic peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine, Russia may try to repeat the same patterns of events in Moldova, on Romania’s border.

Russian troops are already stationed in Transnistria.

“If Russia incorporates Transnistria, the consequences for the entire region will be extremely serious, with the possible extension of a Crimea-like scenario,” political analyst Cristian Mititelu said.

Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister Eugen Carpov on Wednesday denounced a Russian “propaganda” campaign aimed at creating “tensions” over Transnistria.

In an interview, he denied allegations by Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, that Transnistria was under a “blockade” – both economically and in terms of freedom of movement.

Tensions between pro-Russian and pro-European Ukrainians remind Moldovans of their own separatist conflict involving Transnistria.

The strip of territory on Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine declared independence with Russian help in 1990, after Moldova quit the Soviet Union.

The two sides fought a short war in 1992. No country has since recognized the region’s independence but Moldova no longer has any power there.

The problem has defied international efforts at a settlement on the part of the OSCE, Russia, the EU and the United States.

Moldova was part of Romania before the Soviet Union annexed it in World War II. Before the First World War it was part of Tsarist Russia.

A landlocked country lying between Romania and Ukraine, most people speak Romanian, although the country’s constitution calls the language Moldovan. Russian is also widely spoken.

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