UN backs call for Russia to withdraw troops from Moldova

Moldovan people protest in front of a banner reading "Russian army go home," in the capital Chisinau in 2003

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – The UN General Assembly on Friday backed a call from Britain, Canada, Poland and eight other countries for Russia to withdraw its troops from a breakaway region of Moldova.

The non-binding resolution — the first to demand a Russian withdrawal from Moldova — was adopted by a vote of 64 to 15 with 83 abstentions at the 193-nation assembly.

Russia, Iran, Armenia, Belarus, Syria and North Korea were among the 15 countries that opposed the measure urging Russia to complete “unconditionally and without further delay the withdrawal” of its troops from Moldova.

Russia sent troops to Moldova’s Trans-Dniester region after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union to quell fighting in the Russian-speaking area that declared independence from Chisinau, the Moldovan capital. 

The region is considered one of the many “frozen conflicts” in the former Soviet Union. 

Peace efforts have stumbled over demands for a Russian military withdrawal.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy argued that the vote at the United Nations assembly undermined efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to settle the conflict in Moldova.

The measure was also backed by Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, the three Baltic countries, Romania and the Czech Republic.  

The resolution placed demands for Russian troop withdrawal from Moldova on the agenda of the assembly, which will hold a debate on the situation in the coming months.