Two key factors can really contribute to the Transnistrian region reintegration and the country’s unification. The first and most significant is Ukraine’s victory in the war with Russia, and the second is Moldova’s European integration.
Oleg Serebrian, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration, stated this on the program “New Week with Anatolie Golea” on TV8.
“Without Ukraine’s victory in the war, it is superfluous to talk about the Transnistrian conflict settlement. I do not mean that Ukraine’s victory will 100 per cent ensure the turn of events that Chisinau desires. Everything depends not only on that; such a point of view is erroneous. However, a lot depends on two factors.
The first factor, the most important one, is Ukraine’s victory in the war. The second factor is Moldova’s European integration. The rhythm and speed of this process are important. If Moldova is successful, it will contribute to the Transnistrian problem resolution.
For example, if a big strategic problem emerges in Ukraine, it will be a problem not only for Ukraine and Moldova, but also for the whole of Europe. Besides, for us, first, because we are close by. The problems of Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Crimea are all interconnected. They belong to the same issue,” Serebrian said.
According to the guest, for more than 30 years of negotiation process Chisinau and Tiraspol have never signed a fundamental document that would set Moldova’s reintegration as a goal of talks. All this leads to the fact that Transnistria interprets almost every document signed with Chisinau as a step “towards independence”.
“The main problem of our negotiation process since 1992 is that Chisinau believes that it is negotiating the country’s reintegration, while Tiraspol thinks that the same negotiation process leads to its independence. This is strange. How can there be completely opposite interpretations of the same document leading to either reintegration or independence.
We had proposals to talk about the purpose of our negotiation process, because it is quite strange. We still do not have a joint declaration on what we are pursuing in this negotiation process, its goal. The objective should be agreed upon. Let us agree first, let the first point be about what we are striving for, the reintegration of Moldova,” Serebrian said.
According to him, the issues of Transnistria demilitarization and withdrawal of Russian troops can also be resolved after the conflict in Ukraine is over. Negotiations on this issue would be held with Russia one way or another, and it is difficult to do that amid the war in the neighboring country.
Serebrian said that Moldova officially insists on the withdrawal of the Operational Group of Russian troops, the format of the peacekeeping operation is also being discussed, but there has been no talk about it yet. According to him, it would be difficult to call it even a “withdrawal” of troops. Of the current group of Russian troops in the region, most are locals who obtained the Russian citizenship. Many have dual citizenship; they also have Moldovan or Ukrainian passports. Of the notional 1800 people, only 200 are likely to return to Russia, the rest will remain in the region, but without the status of Russian servicemen.