Ukraine cannot be interested in resuming hostilities in the Transdniestrian conflict zone, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"I did not hear exactly what [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko said. In fact, the term 'unfreeze' may have several meanings. The Transdniestrian conflict was frozen for a long time but I do not think that Ukraine is interested in the resumption of hostilities by unfreezing," Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.
Reporters asked him to comment on a statement Poroshenko made at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart on Tuesday.
"If this proposal [to unfreeze the Transdniestrian conflict] aims to step up the negotiating process, then we have always adhered to that," Lavrov said.
"Russia and Ukraine hold a unique position in that process, we are both intermediaries and guarantor states interacting with the conflicting sides, Chisinau and Tiraspol, and observers from the United States, the European Union and the OSCE," the minister said.
Lavrov regretted that "the role of Ukraine in fostering the Transdniestrian peace process had not been as measured over the past year as it was required by the status of an intermediary and a guarantor state."
"In fact, Ukraine helped lay sort of an economic siege on Transdniestria and it still continues to do so. In my opinion, it is playing into the hands of those wishing to use the Moldova-EU association prospect for forcing Transdniestrians to accept the terms set by Chisinau," Lavrov said.
Moldova passed a law which excluded the special status of Transdniestria and mentioned only local self-government of certain villages and towns on the eastern bank of the Dniester River in 2005, he said. In turn, Transdniestria held a referendum and declared its independence.
"We should find 'a middle ground' between these two opposite positions, and collective efforts should be taken to convince the sides to come to an agreement. All of us want to confirm the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova which will provide Transdniestria with a special status within itself to remain an independent and neutral nation," Lavrov said.
The conflict in southeastern Ukraine may lead to the existence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics as independent states, such as Transdniestria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, 38 percent of 1,600 Russians polled in 134 populated localities in 46 regions on February 20-23, reported sociologists.
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