MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sharply criticized the West of encouraging attempts by Chisinau and Kiev to create unbearable conditions for Moldova's breakaway region of Transdnestr.
Transdnestr, a Russian-speaking region along the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, has maintained de facto independence from Chisinau since a brief war in 1992 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. It seeks full independence from Moldova, while Chisinau says it is only prepared to allow limited autonomy.
"The events in Transdnestr are also being ignored, Chisinau and the new Ukrainian leadership have organized a de-facto blockade of the region. And our European partners remain absolutely silent about it. Moreover, the European Union and, as I understand, the United States are encouraging such an approach," Lavrov said.
"In practice, they are trying to create unbearable conditions for Tiraspol, in breach of accords that give Transdnestrians certain liberties concerning the freedom of movement, transit, foreign trade. This is outrageous. They learn nothing from history," he continued.
Lavrov said that the new Ukrainian government and Western powers are trying to exaggerate the situation in Transdnestr by saying that the region would soon follow Crimea's example and hold a referendum on secession. He described such statements as "outrageous provocative rhetoric."
Crimea, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in a referendum on March 16. Its reunification was finalized last week.
Talks on the future of Transdnestr involving Moldova, Transdnestr, Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have so far failed to produce a solution.
The peacekeeping operation in the region is performed by the Collective Peacekeeping Forces (CPF), comprising Russian, Transdnestrian and Moldovan troops, as well as Ukrainian observers.