MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will maintain its peacekeeping contingent in Moldova’s breakaway Transdnestr region until Chisinau and Tiraspol agree on the status of the disputed self-proclaimed republic, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.
Russia maintains a motorized infantry battalion in the region as part of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces (CPF), in addition to a number of troops guarding several Soviet-era ammunition depots.
“While Russia retains its peacekeeping status on both sides of the Dniester River, peace in the region will prevail,” Rogozin said at a meeting with Moscow University students on Friday.
“True, it is an unrecognized republic, but at the same time there is peace and security [in the region],” Rogozin, who is Russia’s special presidential envoy for Transdnestr, said.
The Russian-speaking province of Transdnestr has maintained de facto independence from Moldova since a brief war in 1992 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Transdnestr seeks full independence, while Moldova says it is only prepared to allow autonomy.
The talks on the future of Transdnestr in the “five-plus-two” format, involving Russia, Ukraine, OSCE, Moldova, Transdnestr, with the United States and the EU as observers, have been frozen since February 2006.
A joint peacekeeping force of Russian, Moldovan and Transdnestr contingents has been deployed in the region.
Rogozin said last year that Russia is planning to upgrade military equipment in service with its peacekeeping contingent in Transdnestr.