Issue 4.1 | February 2000 | Information in this issue may be outdated. Click here to link to the most recent issue.
is split into two main regions, Bessarabia and Transnistria. Bessarabia is
in the eastern part of historic Moldova and is mostly Romanian while Transnistria
is the land on the eastern bank of the Nistru River and is mostly Slavic (Ukrainians
and Russians). After the Russo-Turkish War in 1806-12, Bessarabia ceded to
Russia. Finally on Aug. 27, 1991, Moldova declared its independence from the
USSR and was recognized by the United States in December of that same year
as they opened an embassy in its capital in 1992. A new constitution was adopted
on July 28, 1994, which forever replaced the Soviet Union's constitution and
was a symbol of the complete break away from the USSR.
and UXO Overview: In August 1996 over 4,500 mines were destroyed
in Transdniester in the span of two months. Many believe that the disposal
of these mines is very important for the safety of the people while the Republic
says that the explosions are destroying the environment and will arrest and
prosecute anyone who attempts to do so. Bessarabia has accused Transdniester
of producing the mines and shipping them into Bessarabia as well as other
countries. The Moldovan army has over 12,000 mines in their possession even
though the government denies any knowledge of the production of these mines.
The Moldovan army is not the only one who has access to landmines. In 1998,
grenades and even mines were used in several different burglaries throughout
Moldova. The apprehension and confiscation of these landmines is currently
unclear, but the government officials are still working hard to find all of
the undiscovered landmines to destroy them. In May 1998, the Foreign Ministry
of Moldova stated that all but 15km of the 72km affected by landmines have
been cleared. The remainder of this land is being cleared with the help of
the United States.
and Medical Facilities: Thousands of people have been affected
by the presence of landmines within this country as well as hundreds of other
countries. The Moldova Foreign Ministry reported that in one incident from
1992 to 1993, two Moldovan peacekeepers were killed, eight injured and six
severely wounded. Landmine explosions are not only devastating to a single
individual. For every one person harmed, there is a family in need and suffering
due to the unfortunate explosion. The facilities in Moldova leave much to
be desired, as there is a shortage of good doctors and necessary equipment.
These facilities can offer the basic, minimum treatment, which leaves most
to fend for themselves.
Demining: The demining process
in Moldova has been marked as painstakingly tedious because of the constant
problems that arise. The Moldavan governmental officials as well as the army
have been working over time to clear as much land as possible. During the
1991-1992 conflict in Dniester, Separatist and Russian Cossacks mined much
of the village’s fields and roads that surrounded the center of the war zone,
leaving most people little access to their homes. After the Dniester war ended,
over 371 acres still remained uncleared. Vladimir Munteanu, chief of the demining
unit in the Staff of the Army, announced that countless vineyards and forests
surrounding the villages of Cosnita and Pogrebea needed to be demined. These
two areas are of the greatest priority because there are no maps defining
the position of the landmines for the deminers. Sergeant Boris Milhailov and
Private Ion Frunza were killed while searching for and demining the landmines
in these regions. Other landmine incidents have continued to occur all throughout
the country. Three other Moldovan soldiers were killed while 24 others were
severely wounded during a peacekeeping operation in a security zone.
Joint Control Commission Transnistrian Co-Chairman, believes that Moldova
should not exclude the funds that are being negotiated with the United States.
These funds are needed for demining all throughout Moldova but specifically
in the region of the Pogrebea village. Bodnar does not want American forces
and experts flooding into Moldova. He explains that he simply wants funding
for special equipment and machinery to help with the overall demining process.
His plan is for an indigenous team of local workers to be paid and funded
by other countries, but have Moldavans working to preserve and restructure
what is left of Moldova.