In a statement issued on 4 January the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret over that death of a Moldovan citizen shot by a soldier from a Russian peacekeeping contingent at a checkpoint in the Transnistrian buffer zone. The document states that Russia is currently carrying out a detailed investigation into the shooting and promises to report the outcome of the probe to the Moldovan government. It also says that representatives of the ministry held telephone conversations with Moldova’s deputy foreign minister Andrei Popov and the Moldovan ambassador to Moscow Andrei Neguta to discuss the incident. According to media reports, during his conversation with Russia’s deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin, Popov called on Moscow to refrain from making any comments which could lead to an escalation of tensions in the region.
Moscow’s response to the shooting was belated and followed three days of protests across Moldova against the presence of Russian peacekeeping troops in the region. Initially, Russia’s ambassador to Chisinau Valery Kuzmin attempted to justify the actions taken by the Russian soldier, claiming that the victim did not have a driving licence and was driving a stolen car. These suggestions have been rejected by the Moldovan Interior Ministry, and residents of villages in the buffer zone, who have been protesting against the presence of checkpoints in the Dubăsari area, have called on Moscow to recall the diplomat for his slanderous claims.
2012.01.04, www.mid.ru, www.info-prim.md, www.nr2.ru, www.interlic.ru