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Country Reports
Moldova, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: Moldova completed the destruction of its antipersonnel mine stockpile on 26 November 2002.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Moldova signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 8 September 2000 and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 March 2001. Moldova has not reported any national implementation measures as required by Article 9.

Moldova attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002. In November 2002, the government sent a delegation to Moscow to attend a seminar on antipersonnel mines and explosive remnants of war, sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). On 22 November 2002, Moldova voted for UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, in support of the Mine Ban Treaty. Moldova participated in the February and May 2003 meetings of the intersessional Standing Committees.

Moldova submitted its annual Article 7 report on 17 April 2003, for calendar year 2002. This is the country’s second transparency measures report.[1]

Moldova ratified the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its protocols, including Amended Protocol II (Landmines), on 16 July 2001. Moldova did not participate in the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 2002 and it has not submitted an annual national report as required by Article 13 of Amended Protocol II.

Moldova states that it has never produced or imported antipersonnel mines and it inherited its mine stocks from the Soviet Union.[2] Mines were last used during the conflict in the Transdniester in 1992.

Stockpile Destruction

Moldova declared a stockpile of 12,121 antipersonnel mines in its April 2002 Article 7 report.[3] Ministry of Defense Engineers units transferred the stockpiled mines from storage facilities in Floresti, Bulboaca, and Marculesti to the Army training center at Bulboaca.[4] The stockpiled mines were destroyed by open detonation in the period from 30 September 2002 to 26 November 2002, well ahead of Moldova’s treaty-mandated deadline of 1 March 2005.

The stockpile destruction program was carried out by the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) under a NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Canada reports that it contributed US$50,000 for the destruction.[5] In announcing completion of the destruction, Moldova thanked the Netherlands and Switzerland for financial support.[6] The NATO PfP project also included the destruction of 300 tons of other munitions and 325 tons of rocket fuel oxidizer. According to NAMSA, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, United Kingdom, and United States provided funding for the destruction, which cost a total of $1.129 million.[7]

Mines Retained for Training

Moldova has stated that it intends to retain 849 antipersonnel mines, as permitted by Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty: 200 PMN mines, 200 PMN-2 mines, 200 MAI-75 mines, 59 OZM-72 mines, 12 MON-50 mines, and 178 MON-100 mines. Moldova reports that the PMN, PMN-2 and MAI-75 mines will be used for “instruction and training” and the others will be used “as tactical mines and for training.”[8]

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Moldova declares that, for the purposes of the Mine Ban Treaty, it is not mine-affected. It has stated, “In accordance with Article 5 of the Convention, the Republic of Moldova completed in August 2000 the destruction of all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control.”[9]

However, Moldova is still affected by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from World War II and the Transdniester conflict in 1992. The Ministry of Defense and the Police Demining Teams of the Ministry of Interior Affairs are responsible for demining in Moldova. In 2002, demining teams cleared 760 mines and UXO.[10] For clearance purposes, Moldavian territory is divided into four areas of responsibility and teams from the First, Second and Third Infantry Brigades, and a team from the Engineers Department of the Ministry of Defense are responsible for demining these areas.

There are no systematic mine risk education programs in Moldova. During mine clearance operations, deminers meet with the local population and provide information about what to do if they come upon mines or UXO.

There is no new public information on mine incidents. Statistics on mine casualties are not public information.

Pridnestrovie Moldavian Republic

The Transdniester region of Moldova declared independence in 1990 and calls itself Pridnestrovie Moldavian Republic (PMR), although it is not internationally recognized. In April 2003, the government of Moldova stated that it “does not have any information on the stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines by this anti-constitutional regime.”[11]

Fighting broke out between Moldova and PMR in 1992 and both sides used landmines. Pridnestrovie was also the scene of heavy fighting during World War II, and there remains an unknown number of German and Soviet mines and UXO still scattered about old battlefields. UXO constitutes a more serious threat than landmines, the most dangerous areas being those where trench battles took place. A substantial amount of UXO contamination has been found in the Ribnitsa, Dubosary, Tiraspol, and Bendery regions. The PMR Ministry of Defense has an engineer battalion, which is responsible for demining operations. Russian engineer units attached to the peacekeeping forces also take part in mine clearance on PMR territory. A Joint Control Commission, co-chaired by Moldova and PMR, coordinates all peacekeeping activities, including demining.[12]

The withdrawal of Russian troops and munitions, including landmines, from Pridnestrovye was renewed on the basis of a protocol signed on 25 September 2002 by Russia and the head of the unrecognized PMR government, after being halted for various periods in 2001 and 2002. Military trains with Russian ammunition departed from Tiraspol from October to December 2002, then were suspended from January through March 2003, when they resumed again.[13]

PMR reportedly provides full support for the medical, social, and professional rehabilitation of victims of war.[14]

[1] The April 2003 report consisted of two paragraphs of text. See also, Article 7 Report, 8 April 2002 (for calendar year 2001).
[2] Statement by Vitalie Rusu, Head of Disarmament and Arms Control Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 6 February 2003.
[3] Article 7 Report, Form B, 8 April 2002; Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 349.
[4] Article 7 Report, Forms B and D, 8 April 2002. Form D indicates transfer would occur in “summer of 2002.”
[5] Presentation by Canada, “Stockpile Destruction: A Pillar of Mine Action,” to the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 6 February 2003.
[6] Statement by Vitalie Rusu, Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, 6 February 2003.
[7] NAMSA presentation, “PfP Trust Fund Projects,” to the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 6 February 2003.
[8] Article 7 Report, Form D, 8 April 2002.
[9] Republic of Moldova response to OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), questionnaire, (FSC.DEL/655/02), 16 December 2002, p. 2. Moldova’s April 2002 Article 7 report, in Form C, declares, “No mined areas available.”
[10] Telephone interview with Valerio Chiveli, Department of European Security and Military Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 March 2003.
[11] Article 7 Report, 17 April 2003.
[12] Statement by Vladimir Bodnar, Head of Defense Commission, Parliament of PMR, 22 January 2003.
[13] “Withdrawal of Russian weapons from Moldova resumes,” Associated Press (Chisinau), 15 July 2002. See also, Grani.ru (news agency), Moscow, 26 September 2002.
[14] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 351.