Russian President Vladimir Putin has revoked a 2012 decree that recognizes Moldova’s sovereignty in regards to Transnistria, which comes amid increased accusations from the Moldovan government that Russia seeks to destabilize the country.
The decree, which affirmed Russia’s commitment to “find a solution to the Transnistrian conflict that would respect the territorial integrity and neutrality of the Republic of Moldova in setting up a special status for Transnistria,” was annulled “In order to ensure the national interests of the Russian Federation in connection with the profound changes taking place in international relations.”
Putin,revoked the 7 May Decree of 2012 no. 605 which affirmed Russia's commitment to "find a solution to the Transnistrian conflict that would respect the territorial integrity and neutrality of the Republic of Moldova in setting up a special status for Transnistria". pic.twitter.com/L0LXfCNFZm
— GraphicW (@GraphicW5) February 22, 2023
Since the Transnistria War, which established the unrecognized breakaway state from Moldova in 1992, Russian forces have remained in the region as a peacekeeping force, called the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Transnistria, which currently consists of some 1,500 troops. One of their primary missions is to guard the Cobasna ammunition depot, which stores some 20,000 tons of Soviet-era weaponry. Moldova continues to call for the withdrawal of Russian forces from the region, which it considers illegitimate and illegal. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine Civil War and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, there has been increasing support by Transnistria’s ethnic Russian population for annexation by Russia.
Since the outbreak of the Ukraine invasion, Russian military officials have suggested creating a land bridge to Transnistria. Last Spring, Deputy Commander of Russia’s Central Military District, General Rustam Minnekayev, said that operations would aim to “open up direct access to Transnistria. Control over the south of Ukraine is another exit into Transnistria, where there are also facts pointing to the oppression of the Russian-speaking population.” This plan is now unlikely due to Ukraine’s counter offensives last Fall that regained control of Kherson north of the Dnipro River, effectively stopping Russian advancements westward.
The revoking of the decree comes amid increased accusations by Moldovan government officials that Russia is planning on carrying out a coup to overthrow the government, which has become increasingly pro-European Union. Earlier this month, Moldovan President Maia Sandu accused Russia of planning a coup to overthrow the government and stop the country from joining the European Union, stating that “authorities are aware of plans for destabilization in Moldova for the near future… actions are planned involving military-trained saboteurs who will attack state buildings by taking hostages.” This was followed by accusations that Russia seeks to capture the airport in Chisinau to ferry troops for a new frontline from Transnistria. As expected, Russia has denied these claims.