Russia accuses Moldova of simmering tensions in Trans-Dniester region

Russia on Tuesday accused Moldova of deliberately escalating tensions in the separatist Trans-Dniester region, where Russian-speakers take the majority.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the situation around Trans-Dniester is of great concern ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday, adding the mistrust between the region and the Moldovan government is heightening due to Moldova's withdrawal from negotiations.

"The Moldovan leadership is consciously aggravating the tension in the (Russian-patrolled) security zone as well, putting obstacles to the regular peacekeeping operations," the ministry said.

The Moldovan government has recently accused Trans-Dniester of harboring international criminal groups and deploying troops in a demilitarized area on the east bank of the Dniester River since mid-January 2005.

However, Trans-Dniester's authorities denied the allegations, and Moscow said independent inspections had seen no unusual military activities or regrouping of forces.

Trans-Dniester broke away from Moldova after a 1992 war that killed about 1,500 people. Its separatist government is not recognized internationally, but has received support from Moscow.

Negotiations between Moldova and Trans-Dniester have been deadlocked since July, when separatists closed two Moldovan-language schools operating in their region.

Although the schools reopened later, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin refused to restart talks, accusing the separatists of failing to implement past agreements.

Source: Xinhua



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