Moldova’s Transnistrian Separatists Urge Russia Annexation

Transnistria border
Ukrainian border guards stand at a checkpoint at the border with Moldova breakaway Transnistria region, near Odessa March 13, 2014. Transnistria separatists want Russia to annex the region. Yevgeny Volokin/Reuters

The leader of pro-Russian separatists in Moldova, Yevgeny Shevchuk has called for the eastern breakaway region of the country to join Russia in a statement.

Transnistria, also known as Pridnestrovie in Russian, is a stretch of land spanning the easternmost territory of Moldova, which borders Ukraine’s Black Sea Odessa region. Russian-backed separatists in the region declared independence in 1990, though this has not been recognized internationally and groups have been heavily reliant on aid from Russia.

Th separatist leader issued a decree this week calling for the region to officially join Russia, citing an internationally unrecognized referendum held on the issue in 2006. The result was strongly in favor of joining Russia, however the vote did not fulfill international standards and was not sanctioned by Moldova.

Unlike Crimea, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine, after a similar vote in 2014, Transnistria is totally landlocked between Moldova and Ukraine, limiting transport of goods or troops from Russia.

The separatist decree issued this week, advocates a plan to join Russia by November 1, 2016.

Moldova condemned the separatist decree on Friday, as it has repeatedly, any attempts to reinforce Moscow’s control over the region. Earlier this year Moldova reported Russia was recruiting Transnistrian young men into its armed forces, as though they were Russian.