Vadim Krasnoselsky: There Are No Signs of Preparations for an Attack on Pridnestrovie


There are no signs that a direct attack on Pridnestrovie is being prepared right now, President of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic Vadim Krasnoselsky told RIA News. In an interview with the agency’s journalist, he spoke about the continuing threat of terrorist attacks, the position of official Tiraspol on maintaining the 5+2 negotiating format and the attitude of the Pridnestrovian side towards the activities of the OSCE mission.

- On 19 June, Pridnestrovie will mark the 31st anniversary of the Bendery tragedy. Many Moldovan politicians, experts and participants in those events now say that they were at war against Russia on the Dniester in 1992. However, what do Pridnestrovian people think about it? How do you assess the actions of the Moldovan authorities in the summer of 1992?

- I assess them as an act of aggression against the people of Pridnestrovie. It is a historical fact: on 19 June 1992, Moldova treacherously attacked the peaceful city of Bender. Why treacherously? Because just a few days before, the Moldovan Parliament had adopted a decision on the peaceful settlement of the conflict. Ceasefire and disengagement of the warring parties began. International observers worked. In implementing the agreements, we removed paramilitary checkpoints around Bender because we really believed that Chisinau was ready for peace. Instead, Moldova took advantage of the situation and attacked the city with its army and police forces. Hundreds of peaceful Pridnestrovians were killed and injured during the Bendery tragedy. So far, no one in Moldova has realized this terrible mistake. There is no legal assessment of the criminal acts committed, no one has been held responsible and punished for unleashing war against Pridnestrovie and killing its residents. 

I perceive all the speculations about “war with Russia” in 1992 only as a very unconvincing attempt to “whitewash” and justify the crimes committed against the Pridnestrovians, which in fact cannot be justified.

- Thirty years after the end of hostilities on the banks of the Dniester, the media are increasingly reporting on the possible unfreezing of the conflict. How do you assess such threats to Pridnestrovie today? Is there still a risk of sabotage and terrorist attacks on the territory of the republic?

- Pridnestrovie is in a complex regional context, so the situation around the republic is constantly uneasy and tense. We observe various processes on the borders; we hear alarming statements and appeals that come from the neighboring states. The active build-up of Moldova’s military potential with the help of NATO and according to that bloc’s standards is of great concern: Moldova receives large amounts of financial assistance, weapons and armored vehicles. It raises questions, given Moldova’s neutral status and the fact that it is a party to the unresolved conflict with Pridnestrovie.

Nevertheless, now we agree that an armed escalation on the Dniester, the unfreezing of the conflict, is a catastrophic scenario that must be avoided. We see no signs of preparations for a direct attack on Pridnestrovie right now. However, it does not mean that we are safe. Unfortunately, the risk of new provocations is not excluded, so I signed a decree in May extending the “yellow” terrorist threat alert level by two months, until July 18. The competent authorities are monitoring the situation on the borders with Ukraine and Moldova, as well as in Pridnestrovie, to rule out any attempts of sabotage and terrorist attacks.

As for the terrorist attacks of the spring and summer last year, as well as the series of new extremely dangerous incidents that, fortunately, were prevented in February and March of this year, we remain open to a joint investigation with international representatives. Our main message to the international community is about the need to comprehensively analyze the situation, draw conclusions and make common efforts to prevent the recurrence of terrorist attacks against peaceful Pridnestrovie. I am deeply convinced that the willingness of the world community to cooperate in this way would be a powerful stabilizing factor, cooling down the hotheads who are ready to give orders to organize terrorist attacks in Pridnestrovie. Unfortunately, there has been no reaction so far, despite all our appeals, despite the fact that not only Pridnestrovians, but also foreign citizens, including high-ranking diplomats, could have suffered in these terrorist attacks.

- Recently in a meeting with the Lithuanian ambassador, you said that continuing negotiations is a guarantee of the absence of aggression. However, we see that there is no work in the 5+2 format. There have been no meetings since 2019, and the representatives of Ukraine and Moldova say that the format is useless. What is the Pridnestrovian position on this, and is it possible to maintain this negotiating process?

- Pridnestrovie has consistently supported the maintaining of the international format of the Permanent Conference, since for many years this mechanism has helped to solve some of the problems in relations with Moldova. This platform has many advantages: the equality of the parties, democracy, clear principles and procedures that take into account previously reached agreements and the priority of socio-economic and humanitarian issues. The 5+2 format aims at a fair and competitive negotiation process to find mutually acceptable solutions with international participation. In the current regional and geopolitical context, it is in demand.

Chisinau has long declared its intention to abandon this platform, and we understand why. After all, the very essence of the format contradicts the approach of imposing unilateral unfair solutions and prevents attempts to predetermine the model for the final settlement of relations between Moldova and Pridnestrovie without taking into account historical and legal factors as well as the will of Pridnestrovians. Moreover, this negotiation process presupposes a special role for Russia as mediator and guarantor of a peaceful settlement.

That’s why Pridnestrovie has for years put forward concrete initiatives to revive the 5+2 or to hold negotiations under its auspices. I do not think that the potential of the format has been exhausted and that its work is not possible in the current circumstances. The crucial thing is the desire and the political will to work and solve problems in the interests of people whose basic rights are now being violated for political reasons, which is unacceptable.

- A year ago you announced an initiative to possibly sign a document in the 5+2 format on peace and security guarantees for Pridnestrovie. Is your proposal relevant today? Whose political will is necessary to put it into practice?

- Indeed, last year at a meeting with Vitaly Tryapitsyn, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry, I proposed that a single document on peace and security guarantees for Pridnestrovie be drawn up and that all participants in the 5+2 format sign it.

The context of this initiative, related to the terrorist attacks in Pridnestrovie, is well known. Since then, the security situation has not changed for the better, rather the opposite. In addition, as I said, Moldova continues to receive large amounts of military aid from abroad, to increase its defense budget, and to conduct exercises in the immediate vicinity of the security zone. Besides, the pressure on Pridnestrovie is intensifying. In particular, bank blockade, restrictions on the import of medicines, medical equipment and food into the republic, and the appearance of a repressive law on separatism. And these are components of security.

That is why I think my proposal from last year is still relevant today. Whose political will is necessary to put it into practice? Primarily, the leadership of the 5+2 countries. Pridnestrovie has already demonstrated its will, so the others need to confirm their peaceful attitude, including Moldova, whose leadership has repeatedly declared its intention to resolve the conflict exclusively by peaceful means.

- On 1 July this year, the mandate of the OSCE Mission to Moldova expires. There is information about plans to limit the mandate of the international organization on the banks of the Dniester. How do you see the work of the OSCE Mission, what can it do for the settlement process?

- The OSCE carries out technical work, supporting those negotiating mechanisms that are still working. We interact continuously and at different levels with the Chairpersonship-in-Office and the Mission in Chisinau, facilitating the work of the organization’s members on Pridnestrovian territory.

Of course, we have questions about the effectiveness of the OSCE as a mediator. We would like to see greater efforts to restore the negotiation process and its platforms, above all the 5+2 format. The OSCE has an important mediating function in convening meetings and it has not been fulfilled in recent years, even before the conflict in Ukraine began. There are points concerning the degree of impartiality of the Mission and other OSCE structures and the lack of a timely response to the numerous gross violations of the existing agreements and restrictive measures on the part of Moldova.

On the contrary, the Pridnestrovian side has never opposed all agreed negotiating principles and mechanisms, including OSCE participation. We treat them with responsibility and this differs from Chisinau, which regularly demands to change the format and composition of the international negotiation process, insisting on the so-called transformation of the peacekeeping mission. Despite the existing problems of the external factor, I still expect the OSCE to make greater efforts to bring the Moldovan side back to the table and oblige it to fulfill its previous commitments to Pridnestrovie in the framework of the negotiation process. In today’s circumstances, this is a diplomatic task of increased complexity, but with sincere eagerness, professionalism and political will, it is manageable.

Source: RIA News