US gives Moldova $10 million to reinforce border with Ukraine

Part of Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine is occupied by the breakaway Russian-speaking region of Transdniestr.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 30 Mar 2014, 8:18 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:47 AM

The United States is giving ex-Soviet Moldova $10 million to strengthen security on its border with Ukraine, Washington’s top diplomat in Europe Victoria Nuland said on Sunday.

Part of Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine is occupied by the breakaway Russian-speaking region of Transdniestr.

Moscow’s de facto annexation of Crimea has raised fears that Russia could make similar moves in other ex-Soviet states with separatist regions.

The situation in Transdniestr has raised “concern”, Nuland, a US assistant secretary of state, told journalists in Chisinau, in comments translated into Russian.

Officials in Transdniestr this month appealed to lawmakers in Moscow to pass legislation that could see the region absorbed into Russia.

Moscow has complained that Transdniestr is being blockaded by Moldova and Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview broadcast on Saturday that “Chisinau and the new Ukrainian authorities have practically organised a blockade” of Transdniestr.

“What’s more, the European Union and, as I understand it, the United States, encourage such a line,” Lavrov said.

Nuland also said in Chisinau that Russia should press Transdniestr officials to allow OSCE observers into its border zone.

This was backed by Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman, who also spoke at the news conference.

“It would be good if the OSCE mission in Moldova could carry out monitoring of the situation in full adherence with its mandate,” Gherman said in comments translated into Russian.

Transdniestr, a strip of land on the Ukranian border that is economically dependent on the Kremlin, seceded from Moldova in 1992 after a civil war.

Residents in the region, which has never been recognised as an independent state by any United Nations member, voted overwhelmingly to join Russia in a 2006 referendum and Moscow still maintains thousands of troops there.

Moldova, which is largely Romanian-speaking and the poorest coutry in Europe, in November initiated an association agreement with the European Union.

Gherman said that the US has given Moldova more than $1 billion since its independence from the Soviet Union and that relations are “better than ever.”

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