Secession Alert

Moldovan region holds vote on independence

CHINISAU (Reuters) - Ex-Soviet Moldova's separatist Dnestr region, unrecognized internationally, votes this weekend to underpin 16 years of independence and promote moves toward eventually joining Russia.

But Western countries say they will not recognize Sunday's vote in Dnestr, run by Russian-speaking hardliners in one of the "frozen conflicts" defying resolution in ex-Soviet states.

Only Russia, which maintains 1,200 troops in Dnestr, has urged Europe to take heed of the plebiscite, certain to return a large majority backing independence.
Some 400,000 voters in Dnestr, a sliver of land bordering Ukraine, will be asked two questions: whether they uphold independence and subsequent attachment to Russia or whether they reject independence and back integration with Moldova.

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