EU’s Sanctions List for Separatist Transnistria Leaders ‘Out of Date’
25 Nov 2020

The Council of the European Union on Monday extended until October 2021 the restrictive measures it has imposed on representatives of the separatist regime in Transnistria, banning then from entering EU countries – but observers noted that the list of individuals sanctioned is outdated and includes people who are no longer part of the administration in Tiraspol.

Only two of the 16 names are still part of the separatist regime, as the list has not been reviewed since 2008, it was argued.

Oazu Nantoi, and MP from the Action and Solidarity Party, told BIRN that one of the names on the list, Igor Smirnov, who was the de facto president of Transnistria for 20 years, now lives in a suburb of Odessa in Ukraine.

“He now drives a motorboat on the Black Sea,” Nantoi said.

Another of the names on the list is Vladimir Antiufeyev, the former head of the Security Ministry in Tiraspol. Antiufeyev fled the breakaway region to join pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Nantoi blamed successive Moldovan governments for not resolving the dispute over Transnistria, which has been propped up by Russia since a civil war in the early 1990s. Russia maintains peacekeeping troops there despite Chisinau’s official disapproval.

“So far, governments in Chisinau have only mimicked the concern about the Transnistrian conflict, including the Russian military presence. In such situations, the others [the EU] also occasionally mimic concern about this issue. That is why such irrelevant people are still on this list today,” Nantoi said.

He insisted that “governments in Chisinau that have never had a state policy on resolving the Transnistrian conflict”.

Security analyst Rosian Vasiloi also criticised the list of sanctioned individuals. He said that the current secessionist leader Vadim Krasnoselsky is on the list, but manages to enter the EU anyway to participate in various events in Europe.

“The majority on that list are irrelevant at this time and I think the list needs an update,” he said.

Vasiloi also noted that some names on that list like Krasnoselsky and Transnistria’s ex-leader Smirnov have Ukrainian citizenship, but Ukraine is one of the countries that backs the EU’s Transnistrian sanctions list.

Colonel Ion Leahu, a former member of the Joint Control Commission, a combined military command structure involving Moldova, Transnistria and Russia that operates in the disputed territory, told the deschide.md news website that only two people on the list are still in office.

“In 2008 all these names, with small exceptions, were in office. This document does not make sense in the present day,” said Leahu.

By Madalin Necsutu, BalkanInsight, 24 November 2020

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