Moldova on March 6 denied allegations that new customs regulations designed to eliminate smuggling constitute an economic blockade against the breakaway region of Transdniester.
Moldovan Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev said "Russia is being hasty in its judgment or has been misinformed. There is not, nor will there be an economic blockade of Transdniester. Companies in Transdniester want to legalize their business and work in a legal framework in Moldova. Only criminal groups oppose an end to smuggling across the border with Ukraine."
The rules require that all goods bound for Ukraine that pass the Transdniester portion of the border have a Moldovan stamp. Russia and Transdniester's leader Igor Smirnov have both criticized the move.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana praised the new rules as "very important for the establishment of an orderly regime on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border."