BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister has criticized a move by Moldova to call for the removal of Russian troops from a pro-Russia separatist region at an upcoming U.N. meeting.
Moldova’s Radio Chisinau on Saturday cited Sergey Lavrov as saying the move was “inspired from abroad,” an apparent reference to the U.S. and the European Union. Lavrov said it could destabilize the region.
“Nobody wants (a war), apart from those who held the Moldovan government’s hand when they wrote about the necessity for our troops to be evacuated from Trans-Dniester,” Lavrov was quoted as saying Friday. “Those who suggested that want war between us and Ukraine and us and Moldova.”
Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Moldova’s ambassador to Russia, Andrei Neguta, last week and called the move “provocative.”
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Russia has 1,000 troops and 500 peacekeepers stationed in Trans-Dniester, which broke away from Moldova in 1990, fearing reunification with neighboring Romania. About 1,500 people died in a 1992 civil war there.
Trans-Dniester, a slither of land in eastern Moldova, shares a border with Ukraine, but not Russia. It has said it wants to be part of Russia.
Moldova’s ambassador to the U.N., Victor Moraru, recently asked the U.N. to discuss Russian troop withdrawal from Trans-Dniester on the sidelines of the Sept. 12 General Assembly in New York, something Russia opposes.
Moldovan Foreign Minister Andrei Galbur says the presence of Russian troops on its soil for the past 25 years “contravenes the constitutional provisions of permanent neutrality, sovereignty and the principles … of international law.”