Friday, March 10, 2006

Transnistria Standoff

The standoff with Moscow over the new international trading regime introduced by Ukraine and Moldova on their common border seems to be heading for some kind of escalation (EDM):
On the political front, Moscow officials try to build a case that Ukraine and Moldova are "blockading" Transnistria so as to inflict a "humanitarian catastrophe" on the population. Russian state-controlled television networks similarly propagandize the "blockade" thesis. However, as the United States and the European Union point out -- most recently in the March 9 session of the OSCE's Permanent Council -- Tiraspol's authorities have themselves blockaded railroad and highway transport in and out of the enclave (documents of the OSCE PC session, March 9).
The report also points out that Russia now appears to be making a connection between Transnistria and South Ossetia:
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov links the developments in Transnistria directly with Georgia's effort to change the Russian-dominated negotiating and "peacekeeping" formats in South Ossetia. Lavrov accuses Chisinau and Tbilisi of trying to cause social unrest those two theaters and to "sabotage the existing mechanisms." He sees "one system" operating in both situations and demands that Chisinau and Tbilisi return to the existing formats and mechanisms in both cases (RTR Russia TV, March 9).
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