11:07 Nov. 7, 2016
Russian weapons and soldiers stationed in Transnistria endanger both Moldova and Ukraine
Ukraine is ready to arrange a so-called "green corridor" for the withdrawal of Russian troops and weapons from the village of Colbasna in Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria.
The agreement was reached over the weekend in Odesa, where Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak had met with his Moldovan counterpart Anatol Salaru, reports Moldova's Deschide news portal.
Salaru highlighted that Russian weapons and soldiers in Colbasna pose enormous danger for both Moldova and Ukraine. So, in this regard, the withdrawal plan for the Operational group of Russian forces should be finalized by the end of the year.
"We have discussed the creation of a special corridor for Russian soldiers, who are in Transnistria and for the weapons and ammunition stored at Colbasna. I was officially informed that the Ukrainian side is ready to prepare a corridor for the evacuation of Russian troops and weapons. We agreed that our experts will be sent to Ukraine to develop the technical side: to examine ways out of Moldova, and into entrance in Ukraine, where they will be able travel down the corridor," Moldova's Defense Minister reported.
Ukraine and Moldova want the operation to be held under the aegis of OSCE and UN.
"We will call upon international institutions to put pressure on Russia to withdraw its troops and army. We provide all the paths: sea, land and air," Salaru said.
Russia retains approximately 1,200 "peacekeepers" stationed in Transnistria, guarding large stocks of ammunition and military equipment left over from the 14th Soviet Army.
The Kremlin has refused to remove the current Operational Group of Russian Forces despite repeated pleas by Moldova and the international community.
In April 2016 Russia indicated it might withdraw its troops from Moldova once the problem with armament depots was solved. At the same time, Russian military officials said its troops are needed in Transnistria due to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.