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60 Moldovan soldiers are participating in Platinum Eagle 18.1 military exercise in Romania

Source: Army.md, Dumitru Vosimeric

11 February 2018- A contingent of soldiers of Moldova’s National Army is participating during February 11-17th at the international exercise “Platinum Eagle 18.1”, held at Babadag Training Centre, Romania.

60 officers, sub-officers, sergeants and soldiers from the Motorized Infantry Brigade “Dacia” (Cahul) and the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion (Chișinău) will engage into training together with troops from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine and the USA. Moldova is going to Platinum Eagle 18.1 with 12 HMMWVs and other military equipment.

The goal of the exercise is to increase the interoperability between the participant troops, maintaining the capacity of joint training, preparing for peacekeeping missions, as well as developing a regional environment favorable for military cooperation. The Moldovan troops will take part in an international group, led by American troops, and will conduct shootings, command procedures and subunit control.

In 2017, Moldova’s President Igor Dodon blocked the participation of the Moldovan National Army in Platinum Eagle 17.1. Dodon motivated the refusal to allow deployment of troops to the joint exercise “Platinum Eagle 2017” with the lack of an approved Defense Minister (Anatol Șalaru was dismissed) and lack of arguments in favor of the participation.

In 2018, Platinum Eagle unites approximately 300 soldiers from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and the United States, as part as the Black Sea Rotational Force 18 multinational exercise.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy. Inquiries at [email protected]

Reintegration

Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge: Tiraspol continues to build border infrastructure, increases personnel up to 8 individuals

Source: novostipmr.com

22 March 2018- The Transnistrian separatist administration will keep building further border infrastructure next to the Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge. The statement was recently made by Oleg Belyakov, the head of the Transnistrian delegation to the Joint Control Commission (JCC), as a sign of “openness”.

Belyakov declared that Tiraspol intends to keep building the customs terminal in Bîcioc village with increased personnel of up to 8 employees with full control over the people and cars crossing the bridge. The staff is supposed to include “border guards”, “policemen of the migrational service” and “customs officers”. According to the press-release of the Moldovan delegation to JCC, the Transnistrians are also determined to build a “parking lot” for heavy vehicles, possibly complementary to the customs terminal that makes queues. On the other side, Belyakov has also accused the Moldovan delegation of obstructing the activity and blocking the deployment of the military observers, though without giving proof.

Other than this, the Moldovan delegation also informed JCC that the Transnistrian authorities deployed two mobile checkpoints with three military personnel in the exclusive security zone of the city of Bender for “migrational control”. Adding to the Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge situation, the deployment of armed structures by the Transnistrians can be considered a breach of the principle of demilitarisation of the Security Zone.

Note: Reopened only in November 2017, Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge over Nistru river was blown up by the Transnistrian separatist forces in 1992, then reconstructed in 2000 with the European financial support (30 million lei), but could not be inaugurated due to political misunderstandings between Chișinău and Tiraspol.

The bridge is currently in the competence of the Joint Control Commission, who controls the peacekeeping troops in the neighbouring area.

In the opening protocol, Chișinău and Tiraspol committed to not use Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge for military goals and offered the Joint Control Commission the authority to open the bridge. However, it appears that the separatist authorities ignore the principle of free movement of people and goods between the two banks. The Transnistrian authorities apparently already activated a customs control checkpoint in Bîcioc which most probably obstructs the free movement. Krasnoselsky himself with his prime-minister Alexandr Martynov visited the checkpoint after the inauguration of the bridge.

The Joint Control Commission ( Russian: Объединенная контрольная комиссия – ОКК, Romanian- Comisia Unificată de Control) is a trilateral peacekeeping force and joint military command structure from Moldova, Transnistria, and Russia, which operates in a buffer zone on the border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

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Reintegration

Russia Deputy FM at Tiraspol: Calls on Russian troops withdrawal are just diplomatic exercises, to be talked within 5+2

21 March 2018- The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, paid a visit to the Transnistrian region of Moldova and conducted talks with the separatist authorities of the so-called “Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic”.

According to the press-release of the Transnistrian “presidency”, Karasin took note of the progress on the issues around the opened bridge Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc, the functioning of the Latin script schools, the recognition of Transnistrian diplomas, the land use in Dubăsari district, as well as the participation of Transnistrian cars in the international traffic and the freight train transport. The “report” on the issues was made by the Transnistrian so-called president Vadim Krasnoselski.

In his turn, Deputy FM Karasin acknowledged the activity of the negotiation format that resulted in achieving “practical, real steps”. The Russian diplomat notably appreciated the process of voting in the Russian Presidential elections in Transnistria.

Even he was reluctant during his visit in Chișinău, Karasin made a clearer a statement at Tiraspol on the Russian troops’ presence in Moldova. Calling them “diplomatic exercises”, Karasin disregarded the calls on the withdrawal of Russian troops with no constructive consequences:

“Everything must be solved in the current formats, that are well-known: through international dialogues, through dialogue between the leadership of Transnistria and Moldova. Otherwise, the issue will not be resolved. This was directly told to the leadership of Moldova too. I hope that our position is heard”, said Karasin, answering to press questions.

Besides the 441 “peacekeepers”, Russia holds the Operative Group of the Russian Forces in the Transnistrian region of Moldova containing approximately 1200 regular soldiers, mainly recruited among locals. The Group is the new shape of the former 14th Guards Army of the Soviet Union that is illegally stationed in Transnistria after the collapse of SU. The Group and the Peacekeeping Mission are strongly interconnected through the rotation of troops between them, and both contain local Transnistrian men with Russian passports, despite their neutrality claims.

In 2017 and the start of 2018, experts have seen a significant increase in OGRT’s military activity.

The Republic of Moldova addressed the United Nations with the request to include the issue of the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping forces from Transnistria to the agenda of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. In a letter from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the UN, Victor Moraru stated that the presence of Russian troops “constitutes a danger to the maintenance of international peace and security.” The subject was due to be discussed in the plenary session of the UN General Assembly on 23 October but then was delayed by the Moldovan Representative to the UN.

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Politics

Moldova Defense Ministry: Conscription will be gradually abolished starting from this autumn

20 March 2018- The Democrat leader, Vladimir Plahotniuc, announced that his party adopted the political decision to renounce from mandatory conscription in Moldova.

According to Plahotniuc, the Democratic Party asked the Government last year to research the topic and to elaborate an action plan for transforming the National Army into a professional army. The decision came after realizing the current problems with ensuring the young recruits with good conditions of training and living.

Moldova’s Defense Ministry confirmed PDM’s announcement, stating that the action plan for “professionalizing the National Army” is almost ready to be approved at the Government level. Accordingly, the plan stipulates the gradual elimination of military conscription starting from the autumn of 2018 and the replacement of recruits with contracted soldiers. The financial means saved from cutting the expenses on conscripted soldiers would reportedly be redirected to creating new jobs, improving the working conditions, social insurance and the salaries.

The Defense Ministry recognizes that the move would be followed by a revise of the national defence budget.

Experts in national defence qualified the announcement as populism before the elections, motivating that the debate on the conscription reform was started in 2011 but never taken seriously, as former Defense Minister Vitalie Marinuța says.

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