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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ukraine to place S-300 antiaircraft missiles on border with Transdniestria


June 10, 21:29 UTC+3

ODESSA, June 4. /TASS/. Ukrainian authorities will deploy S-300 antiaircraft missile complexes on the border with Transdniestria - a mostly Slavic-populated breakaway region of Moldova that has existed as an unrecognized Dniester Republic since the early 1990.

A report published by Odessa-based Taimer newspaper quoted the Ukrainian Defence Ministry officials as saying the missile complexes will be deployed in the Bolgrad district of the Odessa region.

'Officials at the war ministry said the S-300 missiles will ensure defence of the country in the south of the Odessa region on the border with the Dniester Republic,' Taimer said.

In the light of it, Dniester Republic President Yevgeny Shevchuk expressed concern over the bellicose moods in Kiev.

'We're concerned by the fact,' he said. 'The Dniester leadership is acting with maximum openness in this situation. We've made proposals more than once to the (European security organization) OSCE, the Ukrainian embassy, other partners in the Five-plus-Two negotiations format (embracing Moldova, Transdniestria, Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE, as well as the US and the EU in the capacity of observers - TASS) to come over to us and to see for themselves that there are absolutely no military preparations on our side.'

'We're astonished by the OSCE's reluctance to bring this fact to public awareness,' Shevchuk said.

He said an antitank ditch was being dug at the Kiev government's instruction along the border with the unrecognized republic, while special block posts with armored vehicles assigned to them had been installed on automobile roads and thousands of army servicemen had been redeployed to the area.

'People in the Odessa and Vinnitsa regions (the regions of Ukraine located along the border with Transdniestria - TASS) are scared by what's happening in Donbass where rank-and-file people are dying,' Shevchuk said. 'They are afraid war is about to come to their homes as well.'

'On the other hand, these statements (on the part of Ukrainian officialdom - TASS) apparently seek to discredit Russia and its peacekeepers deployed on the banks of the Dniester River,' he believes.

The contingent of about 1,000 Russian peacekeeping servicemen - privates, noncoms and officers - performs two main functions. They are are to keep guard at checkpoints in the security zone and to exercise control over the depots with outdated munitions that were left behind by Russian forces withdrawn from Moldavia upon the disintegration of the USSR.

The frozen conflict between Transdniestria where more than 60% of the population is non-Moldovan and the authorities in Chisinau budded in 1990 when the nationalistically minded forces declared independence of the then Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic from the USSR and the authorities of the region lying most along the southeastern bank of the Dniester said unambiguously the people of the region were choosing a different path.

In 1992 and 1993, tensions between Chisinau and Transdniestria grew over into a short enough but bloody war. The hostilities stooped effectively only after the arrival of Russian peacekeepers.


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