Putin urges end to blockade of Trans-Dniester

Associated Press
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday dismissed claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine as “nonsense,” but voiced hope for success of four-way talks on settling the crisis. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

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MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has urged Ukraine to reopen trade and transportation routes into Moldova's separatist province of Trans-Dniester.

Russia and the Trans-Dniester authorities say that the Ukrainians have blocked transport routes to the region. Moldova has frozen ties with Trans-Dniester since the 1992 war.

Ukraine has voiced fears that the Russian troops could use region as a bridgehead for invading its southern region.

Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since the 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.

Trans-Dniester has called on Russia to recognize its independence.

Putin, speaking Thursday in a televised call-in show, has dodged a question about whether Moscow could do so, but strongly called for ending a blockade of the region by Ukraine and Moldova.

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