Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rozogin has claimed the residents of Transnistria, a breakaway region located between the borders of Moldova and Ukraine, have decided to back their absorption into the Russian Federation.
“The Russian delegation has … brought home the appeal to the Russian authorities by Transnistria. And even if it’s of symbolic rather than legal character it is now important to us,” said Rozogin on Facebook.
The Russian Deputy PM posted pictures of piles of paper with signatures on them, insinuating this was proof of Transnistria’s desire to join Russia.
In addition, Rozogin claimed Moldovan authorities had tried to confiscate proof of Transnistria’s desire to join Russia. “Moldovan secret services on-board our plane are confiscating boxes with Transnistria’ signatures for reunification with Russia,” Rogozin said on Twitter.
Rozogin also threatened Moldova that Russia would break off ties with the state should it choose to more closely align itself with the European Union. “I will insist on revising economic relations with Moldova if it chooses the association,” he continued, “I am convinced that the association with the EU means changing Moldova’s neutral status. There is a particular rule, all NATO members know this: to join the EU you need to accede to NATO.”
“The recent actions and statements by D. Rogozin are counter-productive and do not help progress in settling the Transnistria conflict,” said Moldova’s foreign ministry after hearing of Rozogin’s claims.
Rozogin was in the region to celebrate the anniversary of the former Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
On Saturday, following Rozogin being disallowed from entering Romanian airspace, he said that next time he would fly through the area on a Russian bomber jet. “Upon US request, Romania has closed its airspace for my plane. Ukraine doesn’t allow me to pass through again. Next time I’ll fly on board TU-160 (a supersonic bomber jet).”
Following its declaration of independence in 1990 as well as the 1992 Transnistria war, the breakaway region has declared its governing body the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic. The United Nations does not recognize the area known as Transnistria as an official state, considering it part of Moldova’s territory. Moldova recognizes Transnistria as the “Transnistria autonomous territorial unit with special legal status.”
The breakaway territory along with Moldova was part of the Soviet Union prior to its dissolution. A 2005 census revealed Transnistria’s demographic split. The country’s ethnic breakdown consists of 32% Moldovan, 30% Russian, and 29% Ukrainian.