TIRASPOL, August 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Friday Russia would fulfill its obligations to preserve peace in the self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria, a narrow strip of land between Moldova and Ukraine that has been in a conflict with Moldova since the 1990s.
“Russia will fulfill all its obligations to their full extent and until the end as a guarantor of peace in this land,” Rogozin said at an event near the republic’s capital city Tiraspol commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Soviet attack on Axis forces in Moldova.
The senior Russian official stressed that Ukraine and Moldova were both seeking to isolate the breakaway republic and have barred its citizens from traveling abroad, but said that Russia would not abandon its nationals living in Transnistria.
As much as 30 percent of Transnistria’s population is ethnic Russian, with many also having Russian or Ukrainian citizenship.
In 1990, Transnistria, with a predominantly Russian and Ukrainian population, declared its independence from Moldova in a move that led to armed hostilities in 1992. Moldova tried to resolve the conflict through force, but lost all control and influence over the region.
After the end of hostilities, the presidents of Russia and Moldova, in the presence of Transnistrian representatives, signed an agreement on the Principles of the Peaceful Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transnistrian Region of the Republic of Moldova.
The deal paved the way for the establishment of a tripartite peacekeeping force. Currently 402 Russian, 492 Transnistrian and 355 Moldovan servicemen, as well as 10 Ukrainian military observers are keeping the peace in the conflict zone.