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Following its victory in the Russo-Turkish War 1806–1812, the Russian empire annexed Bessarabia from the Ottoman Empire. This historical region, which was originally part of the Principality of Moldavia, constitutes most of the territory of modern Moldova.
In the early 20th century, Bessarabia briefly gained independence from Russia as the Moldavian Democratic Republic. It entered a union with the Kingdom of Romania, with whom it shares the same language and ethnicity in 1918 and was ceded by Romania to the Soviet Union in 1940. This led to the establishment of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Moldavian SSR (renamed to SSR Moldova) then declared its independence from the USSR on August 27, 1991. A conflict between the government of Moldova and a secessionist entity on its territory escalated into a war in 1992, which was stopped by direct intervention of the Russian 14th Army and resulted in the emergence of the internationally unrecognized republic of Transnistria. After the ceasefire, two separate groups of Russian military forces remained in Moldova: a small peacekeeping regiment, which is part of the Joint Control Commission, and the 14th Army, which was tasked with guarding a large Soviet ammunition depot in Cobasna on Transnistria-controlled territory. Evacuation of this depot was eventually stalled and Russian military presence in Moldova continues to this day, against the will of the Moldovan Government.
Relations between Moldova and Russia deteriorated in November 2003 over a Russian proposal for the solution of the Transnistrian conflict, which Moldovan authorities refused to accept. In 2006, a diplomatic conflict resulted in the Russian ban of Moldovan wines, damaging the wine industry of Moldova considerably, as Russia remained the largest importer of Moldovan wines by far.
The separatists, a de facto independent region of Moldova, Transnistria, is supported by Russia.