Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 51

Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma ended his official visit to Moldova (see Monitor, March 12) by meeting with Transdniester leaders Igor Smirnov and Grigory Marakutsa in Chisinau. Moldovan president Petru Lucinschi, who had proposed the meeting, was present. The Transdniester leaders agreed with a joint proposal by Kuchma and Lucinschi — in line with earlier ideas of the new Moldovan president — that Ukraine send peacekeeping troops to Transdniester. All sides also agreed that Russian consent would be necessary, and that it will be sought when Kuchma and Lucinschi meet Russian president Boris Yeltsin at the upcoming CIS summit. Ukrainian troops would add to, but not replace, the remaining Russian troops. Kuchma and his chief defense and security adviser, Volodymyr Horbulin, stated that "Ukraine will immediately respond to the call" if Russian consent is forthcoming. They stressed that the experience of Ukrainian peacekeeping troops in the former Yugoslavia qualifies them for operating in Transdniester. (Basapress, Flux, Interfax-Ukraine, Ukrinform, March 12)

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