Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Four eggs, whipped

Something's cooking.  I don't know who the chef is and I don't have the recipe.  I do, however, have the ingredients:

  1. The revelation by the Ukrainian media (The Weekly Mirror) that an old Soviet radio and television emitter located in Transnistria has been renovated and is being guarded by Russian special forces.  The base is capable of jamming signals for hundreds of kilometres around.
  2. The revelation by the same publication that Ukrainian special services had been successful in catching a group of Transnistria-based FSB spies in the act in the Odessa province.
  3. Transnistrian president Smirnov's offer to host Russian Iskander missiles on the territory of the enclave, as a response to Romania's hosting of a US missile defence system.
  4. Moldovan defense minister Vitalie Marinuta's statement that Moldova may no longer need to remain neutral once it is safely sheltered under Romania's missle shield.
What is certain is the following:
  1. Russia shouldn't have any spies, missiles, jamming stations, special forces or any other kind of military forces in Transnistria.  These are gross breaches of at least three international treaties, including the foundation documents of the CIS, the Russo-Moldovan cease-fire agreement of 1992 and the Istanbul 2000 protocol to the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty.
  2. Since 31 December 2002, the only forces that Russia has been legally allowed to maintain in Moldova are peacekeepers participating in the joint control commission.  Nothing else.
  3. Neutrality hasn't worked for Moldova.  A foreign army is stationed on its territory against the wishes of its government and people.
In terms of what might be going on, I can only speculate.  Perhaps Ukraine is preparing public opinion prior to taking a stronger stand on the Transnistrian issue?  Perhaps Moldova is preparing public opinion for an eventual adherence to NATO (a mammoth task given the decades of anti-NATO brainwashing that needs to be overcome)?  Smirnov is of course trying to prove that he's Moscow's best friend, possibly to strengthen his position against the Evgheny Shevciuk-led Transnistrian opposition.  Russia is as usual trying to be as much of a nuisance to the Ukraine and Moldova as it can be, but to what end?

If you are able to flavour or colour the indeterminate mixture above, please add your wisdom through the comments facility.

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