Transdniestria Wants to Increase the Number of Russian Peacekeepers

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It is about increasing the number of Russian peacekeepers from the current 400 troops to 4.2 thousand, as it was at the beginning of the peacekeeping operation.

Oleg Belyakov the co-chair of the Joint Control Commission (JCC - the collective governing body of the peacekeeping operation in the Transdniestrian region) from Transdniestria issued a statement on Thursday where he asks the Transdniestrian delegation to discuss at the JCC meeting the issue of returning the original number of Russian peacekeepers, the JCC press center said, reports.

“We consider it necessary in the near future to return to the discussion of the issue, which was repeatedly initiated by the Transdniestrian delegation to bring the number of MC (military contingent) of the PKF (peacekeeping forces) of the Russian Federation, which was temporarily unilaterally reduced without the decision of the JCC in early 2000 according to the JCC governing documents”, - the document says.

The Transdniestrian delegation also considers it necessary "to resume the flight activities of the helicopter squadron attached to the JPKF (joint peacekeeping forces)."

The JCC includes the delegations of Russia, Chisinau and the unrecognized Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic. Representatives of Ukraine and the OSCE mission in Moldova participate in its work as observers. JCC co-chairs (heads of delegations) make decisions by consensus.

Peace in the conflict zone in Transdniestria is supported by 402 Russian troops, 492 Transdniestrian, 355 Moldovan and ten military observers from Ukraine. Peacekeepers serve in 15 stationary posts and checkpoints which are located in key areas of the security zone.

Transdniestria, 60% of the population of which are Russians and Ukrainians, sought to exit from Moldova before the USSR collapse, fearing that in the wake of nationalism, Moldova would join Romania. In 1992, after a failed attempt by the Moldovan authorities to solve the problem by force, Transdniestria became virtually uncontrolled territory of Chisinau.