Russia preparing to annex Moldova’s Trans-Dniester region, Nato commander claims

23 March 2014 (Last Updated March 23rd, 2014 18:30)

Russia is now preparing to annex Trandsniester, a Russian-speaking breakaway state located between Ukraine and Moldova, Nato supreme allied commander general Philip Breedlove has claimed.

Russia is now preparing to annex Trandsniester, a Russian-speaking breakaway state located between Ukraine and Moldova, Nato supreme allied commander general Philip Breedlove has claimed.

Speaking at an event held by the think tank of German Marshall Fund of the United States, Breedlove said Russia has built a large and 'very, very sizeable and very, very ready', military force on the eastern border of Ukraine.

"There is absolutely sufficient force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that," Breedlove said. "That is very worrisome."

"There is absolutely sufficient force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that. That is very worrisome."

"Russia is acting much more like an adversary than a partner."

In addition, the Moldovan media had earlier reported that Russian soldiers stationed in Transdniester were holding military exercises.

However, despite Russia already having a military presence in Trans-Dniester, it insists that the presence of its forces east of Ukraine complied with international agreements.

Also known as Transdniestria, Trans-Dniester region has appealed to the Russian Parliament to draft a law that would enable the separatist region to join the Russian Federation soon after the latter's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Moldova President Nicolae Timofti responded by urging the European Union (EU) to accelerate the signing of an association agreement that is currently due in a few months.

The Russian Government is expected to consider Trans-Dniester's accession request as soon as Thursday, Bloomberg reports.

Trans-Dniester declared independence from Moldova in 1990, but the status has yet to be recognised by the international community, BBC reports.