NARRATIVES: 1. Chișinău wants to denounce the 1992 Ceasefire Agreement, which could lead to a new military conflict. 2. Chișinău wants to destroy the peacekeeping mission in Transnistria.
BACKGROUND: On March 2, 1992, an armed conflict broke out in Transnistria between constitutional forces controlled by Chișinău and separatist forces in Tiraspol, backed by Moscow. The Russian 14th Army, which had been stationed on the left hand of the Dniester ever since the Soviet era, got involved in the conflict. The armed phase of the conflict ended with the signing of a Ceasefire Agreement by the then presidents of the Republic of Moldova and Russia, Mircea Snegur and Boris Yeltsin, respectively. Among other things, the agreement stipulated the setup of a demilitarized zone along the Dniester, known as the Security Zone, and the creation of a peacekeeping force made up of military from Russia, the Republic of Moldova and the separatist republic.
Many experts and politicians later criticized Agreement on the principles for a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in the Dniester region of the Republic of Moldova, signed on July 21, 1992. They considered it an act of surrender from Chișinău, also because the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria are described as equal belligerent factions. At the same time, pundits say the fact that Russia signed the agreement is evidence of its involvement in the war in Transnistria.
The so-called Foreign Minister of Transnistria, Vitaly Ignatiev, gave two in-depth interviews marking 30 years since the Agreement was signed. In the interview for Sputnik Moldova, Ignatiev says the majority of the population in the breakaway region voted in favor of independence at the 2006 referendum (which the international community did not recognize), with the possibility of later joining the Russian Federation.
In the interview for RIA Novosti, Ignatiev speaks about Chișinău possibly denouncing the Agreement and the consequence of such an action.
During the same period, Russian diplomat Dmitry Belik said that Transnistria’s readiness to join Russia should be “seriously” examined and should be regarded as a possibility “in the near future”.
Tensions linked to the breakaway region of Transnistria, separating the Republic of Moldova from Ukraine, escalated with the Russian invasion of the latter. On more than one occasion Russian officials, including the Kremlin’s top propaganda theorist, Vladimir Solovyov, mentioned Russia’s intention of reaching this region.
PURPOSE: To promote the idea that Moldovan authorities plan to denounce the ceasefire agreement, thus justifying a possible military intervention from Russia “to ensure peace in the region and protect Russian citizens in the region”.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Chișinău has never expressed plans, nor has it ever brought up the question of denouncing the 1992 agreement, even if some of its provisions, such as observing free movement, are not observed.
Denouncing Chișinău’s requests regarding the evacuation of Russian peacekeepers has already become part of Kremlin and Tiraspol propaganda. In fact, the Republic of Moldova has called on Russia to evacuate its troops and Soviet-era munitions. These are two separate issues. At the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in 1999, Russia pledged to withdraw its forces and munitions from Transnistria by 2001, although to this day that never happened.