During a big press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the statements of the new Moldovan leader Maya Sandu on the need to withdraw Russian peacekeepers from Pridnestrovie.
According to him, Maya Sandu said nothing new as a representative of a certain political power.
“We have always heard from representatives of Western countries that it is necessary to withdraw our peacekeeping contingent. Maya Sandu is the President of Moldova, but at the same time is a Romania citizen,” Vladimir Putin reminded.
He stressed that, actually, Russia stands out for the Russian peacekeepers` withdrawal, but this would be possible as soon as the appropriate environment is created: a normal dialogue will be established between Pridnestrovie and Moldova, as soon as the parties to the conflict take the path of reconciliation.
Chisinau and Tiraspol were close to resolving the conflict, Vladimir Putin recalled. This is the Kozak Memorandum. According to it, Moldova was to become an “asymmetric federation”. However, at the last moment, President of Moldova Vladimir Voronin refused to sign the agreement initialed personally by him.
“We were already close to that. With former President Voronin. But at the last moment, representatives of Western countries put the heat on him, he said no, so the decision was postponed indefinitely. What for? Why? It was not clear. I asked my colleagues from the European Union: why did you do this? Well, it just happened. Let us not go into details,” the Russian President said, adding that this problem must be resolved sooner or later.
The need to withdraw Russian peacekeepers from Pridnestrovie has been repeatedly stated by the President-elect of the Republic of Moldova, Maya Sandu. Her statements were supported by NATO. The organization General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, said that Russia allegedly violated "the territorial integrity of Moldova" by deploying peacekeepers in Pridnestrovie.
The President of Pridnestrovie Vadim Krasnoselsky, in response to the statements of the elected President of Moldova and the NATO Secretary General, explained that Russian military personnel did not in any way violate the territorial integrity of Moldova, since they are stationed on the constitutional territory of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic on legal grounds in accordance with the will of the citizens of the PMR expressed in the 1995 referendum.
The Head of the PMR added that any attempts to destroy the existing peace guarantee mechanism could lead to a rollback of the Moldovan-Pridnestrovian conflict to the situation of the early 90s. Due to the unsettled state and legal relations, Pridnestrovie and Moldova do not have a comprehensive agreement that would exclude the possibility of direct military confrontation resumption, Vadim Krasnoselsky explained.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, commenting on Sandu's words, noted that Moscow was unlikely to be able to accept such statements, since they do not contribute to the settlement of the Moldovan-Pridnestrovian conflict. He also stressed that Russian peacekeepers were guarantors of peace and stability in the region.
Let us recall that in July 1992 Russia stopped the armed aggression of Moldova against Pridnestrovie. Prior to that, several conciliation commissions, including those with the participation of international representatives, tried to stop the war on the Dniester. However, the observer mission was unable to prevent the attacks of the Moldovan armed formations on Bendery in June 1992. The bloodshed only stopped with the arrival of the Russian peacekeepers.
The peacekeeping operation under the auspices of the Russian Federation has been implemented in Pridnestrovie since 1992 on the basis of interstate agreements. In addition to the Russian Federation, the parties to the conflict - PMR and RM, as well as a group of military observers from Ukraine are part of it. The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is formed from the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Pridnestrovie.
The Russian peacekeeping operation in Pridnestrovie is considered one of the most successful in history: hostilities have not been resumed since 1992.
According to the agreements, the peacekeeping operation on the Dniester cannot be stopped or reformatted until the complete settlement of the Moldovan-Pridnestrovian conflict.