2012 Moldova security zone incident

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The 2012 Moldova security zone incident happened in the Transnistrian security zone maintained by the Joint Control Commission on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. On January 1, a Moldovan civilian drove through a checkpoint in the zone and was fatally wounded by a Russian peacekeeper.

The civilian died a few hours later at a Chişinău hospital. His death raised tension between Russia and Moldova and has revived a decades-old debate over the presence of Russian forces in Moldova.[1] The incident caused demonstrations in Moldova, in which the protesters demanded free passage through the security zone and the withdrawal of Russian troops.[2] On 25 January 2012, a group of European parliamentaries issued a call to the participants of the 5+2 format negotiations to replace the current peacekeeping contingent with an international civil peacekeeping mission.[3]

A similar case occurred on January 27, 1995, when another civilian, Constantin Andreev, was fatally wounded by a Russian soldier in the security zone, between Dubăsari and Râbniţa.[4]

The incident[edit]

The incident occurred at the 9th peacekeeping checkpoint on a bridge across the Dniester River, between the Transnistrian village of Pârâta and the Moldovan town of Vadul lui Vodă, early in the morning of January 1, 2012. According to reports, civilians Vadim Pisari and Constantin Bologan from the village of Pîrîta on the eastern bank of the Dniester drove a car to the neighboring town of Vadul lui Vodă. On their way to the town, they passed a bridge with a check point manned by a Russian peacekeeping contingent. The car did not slow down at the check point, rammed the check point's boom barrier, and broke through to the other side.[5]

A short time later, Pisari and Bologan were returning to Pîrîta via the same route. When their car entered the bridge again, at 07:15 a.m. local time, the driver disobeyed repeated demands to pull over.[6] Vyacheslav Kozhukhar, the chief of the peacekeeping force, fired several warning shots in the air, and, when those were ignored as well, shot at the driver’s side of the man’s car, severely wounding him in the back.[7] Pisari was rushed to the Emergency Hospital in Chişinău, where he died soon after a surgery was performed on his spine.[5]

Investigation[edit]

Moldova and Russia launched a probe into the incident.[7]

A special task force led by Russian military prosecutors was formed following an emergency meeting of the Joint Control Commission. It was to report on the outcome of its investigation By February.[8]

Aftermath[edit]

On January 4, Vadim Pisari was buried in his native village. The funeral procession grew into a protest rally. A protest of some 250 people followed the funeral with demonstrators holding placards calling for Russia to reduce its influence in the region.[9] Among the participants at the funeral on January 4 were Dorin Chirtoacă, members of PL and PLDM.[10] The Moldovan Government allocated 100,000 lei for the funeral of Pisari.[11]

Reactions[edit]

Moldova[edit]

On January 2, protesters gathered in Pârâta demanding the removal of the checkpoint.[12] On the same day, the prime minister of Moldova Vlad Filat condemned the incident, ordered compensation payments to be made to the family of the victim, and called for a joint Moldovan-Russian investigation.[7]

On January 3, around 100 protesters gathered near the point where Pisari was wounded, demanding that the checkpoint and others like it be removed. The protest disrupted the check point for two hours.[1]

On January 3, protesters signed a letter addressed to the Moldovan government, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the international community, asking for immediate withdrawal of all fifteen peacekeeping points in the Dniester River area. "Nothing justifies the death of a person," Moldova Prime Minister Vlad Filat said on January 3. "It is not the first time that peacekeepers have committed such crimes," the president of Promo-Lex Ion Manole said.[13]

On January 5, the prime minister Vlad Filat and Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Eugen Carpov laid flowers at the grave of Pisari.[14][15]

On 9 January, participants of a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Chişinău demanded withdrawal of Russian troops.[16]

In the following weeks, several Moldovan NGOs organized protests in front of Russian embassies in Bucharest[17][18] and Chişinău,[19] demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from the region.

On January 11, over 500 protested in the Moldovan town of Vadul lui Vodă demanding withdrawal of Russian troops.[20]

Russia[edit]

On January 2, a statement released by the Russia’s ambassador to Moldova, Valery Kuzmin, claimed that Vadim Pisari bore much responsibility for the shooting, citing "repeated crude violations on the part of the victim, who was in a state of alcoholic intoxication and driving a car that did not belong to him." The Russian Embassy in Chişinău also cited "damage to the gate, the danger of running over one of the peacekeepers, speeding through barriers, failure to obey the command to pull over even after warning shots in the air." These statements were rejected by the Ministry of Interior of Moldova.[21] On January 3, a press release of the Moldova's Foreign Ministry states that is not the first time that Ambassador Valery Kuzmin had made inappropriate statements. Foreign Minister Iurie Leancă described the comments by Valery Kuzmin in connection with the murder of Pisari as "unfortunate" and "sarcastic ".[22]

On January 4, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing regret over the death of Vadim Pisari and pledging to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.[21][23]

International[edit]

On January 4, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania Teodor Baconschi expressed his condolences to the family of Pisari[24] On January 4, in a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow has conveyed condolences to Moldova on the death of Vadim Pisar.[25]

The United States and Germany issued statements urging Russia and Moldova to avoid a rise in tension in the security zone and to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident. They also expressed their readiness to participate in talks to demilitarize the area and convert the current peacekeeping mission to an OSCE-led one.[5]

On 8 January, immigrants from Moldova protested in front of the Russian Embassy in Paris, demanding withdrawal of Russian troops.[26][27]

On January 25, 31 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe signed a declaration calling for an international civil peacekeeping mission to replace the current one in Transnistria. The declaration also noted the protests in local villages and stated that "the preliminary investigation proves the Russian peacekeeper had no reason to open fire on the vehicle".[3]

On January 26, 2012, Moldovan PACE representative Ana Guţu spoke about the death of Pisari before the Assembly.[28][29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The New York Times, Shooting at Checkpoint Raises Tensions in a Disputed Region Claimed by Moldova
  2. ^ "Tension rises in Transdnestria". Rustavi2.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "A call for the international civil peacekeeping mission in the Transnistrian secessionist region. Written Declaration No 506". Assembly.coe.int. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ „Pacificatorii” l-au împuşcat şi pe Constantin Andreev (Romanian)
  5. ^ a b c Interfax: "Berlin, Washington Call For Demilitarization of Dniester Security Zone", January 6, 2012
  6. ^ "Chisinau, Tiraspol agree to ease tensions over incident at peacekeepers post" (in Russian). Pda.itar-tass.com. 2012-01-15. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Kyiv Post, Moldova prime minister: Dniester incident must be probed jointly with Russia
  8. ^ Interfax: "Moscow deems unacceptable calls for ending peacekeeping operation in Transdniestria", January 10, 2012
  9. ^ "Funeral held for Transdniestria-Moldova border shooting victim". Rustavi2.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Vadim Pisari a fost petrecut pe ultimul drum" (in Romanian). Timpul.md. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Guvernul a alocat 100 de mii de lei pentru funeraliile lui Vadim Pisari" (in Romanian). Timpul.md. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  12. ^ Proteste in Transnistria dupa uciderea lui Vadim Pisari. Guvernul Moldovei cere retragerea armamentului rus (Romanian)
  13. ^ "Ire over Russian peacekeepers after youth's death". Setimes.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ http://www.gov.md/ (2012-01-05). "Prime Minister Vlad Filat paid a working visit to the eastern Dubasari district today". Gov.md. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ Filat a depus flori la mormântul lui Vadim Pisari (Romanian)
  16. ^ Noi proteste legate de moartea lui Vadim Pisari (Romanian)
  17. ^ Protest în fata Ambasadei Rusiei la Bucuresti! (Romanian)
  18. ^ PROTESTE in fata ambasadei Rusiei din Bucuresti impotriva asasinarii unui tanar basarabean de catre “pacificatorii” stationati in regiune (Romanian)
  19. ^ Ziarul de Gardă, Platforma Civică Acţiunea 2012: omorul lui Vadim Pisari trebuie sancţionat (Romanian)
  20. ^ Oamenii de la Nistru nu cedează (VIDEO) (Romanian)
  21. ^ a b easternpartnership.org: "Moscow comments on Transnistria shooting incident", 4 January 2012
  22. ^ Iurie Leancă: Comentariile lui Valeri Kuzmin sunt regretabile (Romanian)
  23. ^ mid.ru: СООБЩЕНИЕ ДЛЯ СМИ Об инциденте в зоне безопасности приднестровского конфликта, January 4, 2012 (Russian)
  24. ^ "Teodor Baconschi despre cazul Vadim Pisari: Este nevoie de o anchetă profesionistă şi completă" (in Romanian). Vrn.ro. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  25. ^ Voice of Russia, Moscow offers condolences to Moldova on Moldovan’s death
  26. ^ "Basarabenii din Paris indignați de omorul tânărului din stânga Nistrului" (in Romanian). Timpul.md. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Miting la Paris impotriva stationarii armatei ruse in Transnistria" (in Romanian). Ziuaonline.ro. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Deputatul Ana Guţu a vorbit la APCE despre tânărul împuşcat la Pârâta". Timpul.md. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Deputata Ana Guţu la APCE despre relaţiile moldo-ruse" (in Romanian). Politicom.moldova.org. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 

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