Moldova provokes Transnistria and Russia with bid to criminalise separatist activities
Lawmakers in Moldova passed a set of amendments to the Criminal Code that aim to tighten state security by banning “the initiation, organisation or setting up of illegal intelligence structures on the territory of the country" in the first reading at the end of December.
The bill prompted protests from the authorities of the separatist republic of Transnistria in Moldova, who believe they might be targeted, as well as from Moscow.
The legislation explicitly criminalises activities “aimed at instigating to actions directed against the sovereignty, independence, territorial inviolability, state security or defence capacity of the Republic of Moldova”.
The deputies of the Supreme Soviet in Transnistria decided to ask the parliament of Moldova not to pass the draft law in the final reading.
"We hope that this law will not be adopted in the second reading," said the vice president of Transnistria’s Supreme Soviet, Galina Antiufeeva.
At the same time, the authorities in Tiraspol threatened to adopt some response measures in case the Criminal Code of Moldova is amended.
"Response measures will be taken to protect the rights of our citizens, " Antiufeeva added.
The foreign minister of the separatist region, Vitali Ignatiev, has announced that he has already approached the deputy PM for reintegration in Chisinau, Oleg Serebrian, requesting an explanation.
"I asked Moldova for an exhaustive explanation of these amendments to the Criminal Code that can be adopted. For us, they represent a very serious threat to peace, security and the negotiation process," Ignatiev said.
The spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, warned that the bill discussed by the Moldovan lawmakers “will not contribute to the resolution of the Transnistrian conflict”.
"We are convinced that the introduction of such provision to the Criminal Code will not bring any added value to the relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol,” she declared during a press briefing.
The Russian official said that Moscow hopes that "the Moldovan side will further analyse this step in the context of the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict".
"We believe that this legislative initiative would have been justified if the Transnistrian conflict had been definitively settled," she added.
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