Ukraine puts Transnistria's chief negotiator on wanted list

Ukraine's Interior Ministry put Vitaly Ignatiev, the chief negotiator for Moldova's Russian-occupied Transnistria region, on its wanted list, according to information on the ministry's website published on March 29.

Ignatiev, who was born in the city of Kotovsk (today known as Podilsk) in Odesa Oblast, holds both Ukrainian and Russian citizenship. He has led the foreign relations of Transnistria, the Russian-controlled region of Moldova, since 2016.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Vinnytsia Oblast summoned Ignatiev for questioning in January. Ignatiev was accused of "public calls to change the Ukrainian state border or its territories" and "information activity in cooperation with the aggressor state and occupation authorities."

Ignatiev did not react to the SBU's summons. According to the Ukrainian government database, Transnistria's chief negotiator remains in Russian-controlled Tiraspol and could not be detained.

From 2012 to 2015, Ignatiev was a member of the Joint Control Commission, a tri-lateral peacekeeping force and joint military command structure from Moldova, Transnistria, and Russia that operates in a demilitarized zone on the border between Moldova and Ukraine.

Transnistria borders Ukraine's Odesa Oblast and is internationally recognized as part of Moldova. Russian troops have occupied Transnistria since the early 1990s when Russia invaded the region under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians.

President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the events in Transnistria with his Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu earlier on Feb. 28 in Tirana, saying, "Russia is trying to destabilize the situation."

Earlier, Russia's Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would "consider with attention" the appeal of authorities from Transnistria for "protection" from Moldova.

Read also: Transnistria appeals to Moscow to help end ‘economic blockade’ by Moldova, Russian state media says

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