Moldova’s breakaway pro-Russian region of Transnistria has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognize its independence after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The appeal by the Parliament of Transnistria, city and district council members and community associations “express the aspirations of the people of Transnistria” and is based on the results of referendums held in 1991, 1995 and 2006, the parliament of the unrecognized state said on its website.
Moldova, eastern Europe’s second-smallest economy, shares a border with Ukraine where tensions escalated after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula. Moldova is on the verge of signing an association agreement with the European Union, while Transnistria wants to join Russia, Evgeny Shevchuk, president of the self-proclaimed republic, said April 7.
The Transnistrian parliament’s appeal is a “direct defiance” of Moldova’s territorial integrity and efforts to settle the territorial dispute, the country’s government said in a statement on its website.
According to the most recent referendum in 2006, 97.2 percent of Transnistrian voters favored joining Russia and 2.3 percent were opposed.
“Transnistria is a Russian-language land, more than 90 percent of Transnistrians speak and think in Russian,” the region’s parliament said in its statement.
Russia has maintained troops in Transnistria since the 1992 military conflict with Moldova as part of a peace-keeping force that includes Moldovans, Transnistrian militants and Ukrainian military observers.