Moldova nervous after Russia's actions in Crimea

Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region is predominantly Russian-speaking, with many people holding Russian passports, which could serve as a pretext for Moscow to repeat its actions from Crimea.

Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region is predominantly Russian-speaking, with many people holding Russian passports, which could serve as a pretext for Moscow to repeat its actions from Crimea.

ANKARA – Some Baltic countries which have Russian speaking populations with separatist tendencies fear that the example of the Crimea might prove a precedent and Russia may attempt to annex them.

 One of these countries is Moldova, a part of which, predominantly Russian speaking Transdniestria, seceded from Moldova more than two decades ago but is not recognised by the international community.

"Moldova knows what a separatist movement is very well, what happens in Ukraine now reminds us of Transdniestria" Moldovan Ambassador to Turkey Igor Bolboceanu told AA. "We are deeply worried about what has happened in Ukraine."

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a deal on Tuesday to make the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula a part of Russia.

The signing of the deal came after an overwhelming majority of the Crimeans voted  "yes" to secede from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum condemned by the US, the EU and Ukraine as illegitimate.

Transdnistria, another post-Soviet frozen conflict zone, unrecognized by Moldova and the international community, proclaimed independence from Moldova 1990. In a September 2006 referendum, the breakaway republic reiterated its demand for independence and backed a plan to eventually join Russia.

As in Crimea, the population of Transdniestria is predominantly Russian-speaking and many people there hold Russian passports, which could serve as a pretext for Russian action. Russia maintains more than 1,000 troops in the territory.

 Another region of Moldova, Gagauziya, located in the south of the country have reportedly taken steps to create its own army to "defend itself" against the actions of Chisinau, the Moldovan capital. 

While both regions appear to be trying to follow Crimea's example, the president of Moldova warned Russia on Tuesday against considering any moves after separatist Transdniestria's parliament speaker urged Russia to incorporate his mainly Russian-speaking region during a visit to Moscow. 

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said did not plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine.

Ambassador Bolboceanu sees Russia's annexation of Crimea as a serious threat to the Black Sea Region.

"Frozen conflict zones is one of the biggest problems of our region"  said Bolboceanu 

Bolboceanu said crisis in the region would also pose a threat to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC). 

The ambassador, describing the referendum as illegitimate, said "Sides should act in accordance with the international law and give more chance to diplomacy." 

Russia also used the pretext of protecting its citizens to send in troops and launch air attacks on Georgian forces in 2008 as most South Ossetians have Russian passports.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August 2008 after nearly a week of clashes between Georgian troops and separatist South Ossetian forces.

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