Moldova is a nation found in Eastern Europe which covers an area of 13,069.9 square miles. The relatively small country has an equally short land border relative to its neighbors which stretches 863.7 miles in length. Moldova’s international border is almost entirely fluvial, being defined by the course of two of its biggest rivers; the Prut River and the Dniester River. The country shares its international border with its two neighboring countries; Romania and Ukraine. Ukraine’s border with the country is the longest of the two, as it is 759 miles long compared to the 423.3-mile long of the Romania-Moldova border. Moldova’s border was established after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1990. An area of controversy concerning the border exists along Transnistria, an unrecognized breakaway republic.
Romania is situated west of Moldova and is one of the two countries with which Moldova shares its land border. The international border between the two countries is 423.3 miles in long. The Romania-Moldova border also represents the external border of the European Union. The border is a fluvial one as its entire length (except for a short portion that follows the Danube River) follows the course of the Prut River. The border starts at Criva, a border town situated northwest of Moldova, and runs southeastwards until it ends at Giurgiulesti, another border town found south of the country.
There are numerous border crossing points found along the Moldova-Romania border, some being road crossings while others being rail crossings. All of the border crossings are found on bridges as the border is largely fluvial. Two of the border crossing points are rail crossings, one of which being the Falciu-Stoianovca Bridge crossing. The rail crossing connects the town of Falciu in Romania to Stoianovca in Moldova. The other rail crossing is the Eiffel Bridge which is situated on the border town of Ungheni. The Giurgiulesti-Galati Bridge is a border crossing that is noted for being both a rail and road crossing. This border crossing point connects Galati in Romania to Giurgiulesti in Moldova. Road crossings found along the border are the Oancea-Cahul Bridge, the Albita-Leuseni Bridge, the Sculeni Bridge, the Costesti-Stanca Dam, and the Radauti-Lipcani Bridge. An important thing to note is that all the road crossings are available 24 hours every day of the year, except for the Radauti-Lipcani Bridge which operates between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm every day.
Ukraine is the other country with which Moldova shares a land border. The Moldova-Ukraine border is the longest that Moldova shares with another country, spanning 759 miles in length. The long land border is also Ukraine’s second-longest international border only exceeded by the Russia-Ukraine border in length. The border starts at the tripoint connecting the two countries to Romania and stretches in a southwest direction until it reaches the Black Sea ending near the town of Reni in Ukraine.
A section (282 miles) of the border lies along the Transnistria region of Moldova which is an unrecognized breakaway republic. The Ukraine-Moldova border was defined soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 20th century. The border has numerous border crossing points through which cross-border movement is allowed and facilitated. There are a total of 67 official border crossings found on the Ukraine-Moldova border which are categorized in three different types; local border crossings where only local cross-border traffic is allowed, interstate border crossings which are exclusive to citizens of the two bordering countries, and international border crossings which are used by anyone. The border is well-secured and patrolled by security agents on both sides of the border. The policing of the border is necessary for preventing illegal movements and activities on the border. However, Moldova has no security agencies posted on the stretch of the border along Transnistria. Nonetheless, there are 25 border crossing points found on this stretch of the border.
Moldova’s easternmost point is marked by Palanca, a small village which lies close to the Ukraine-Moldova border. The village is also the country’s lowest point. Another notable thing about this village is that it is the basis of a territorial dispute between Moldova and Ukraine and is an area of high sensitivity in the relations between the two countries. Both countries lay claim on the village, and neither is willing to cede its sovereignty over Palanca despite the extensive talks made on the issue. Ukraine advocated for a road in the village to be made part of the country because the village being part of Moldova meant that Ukrainians had to cross into Moldova when traveling to Ukraine's Odessa Oblast. The two countries had reportedly agreed to have the road become part of Ukraine while the rest of the village remained under Moldova’s sovereignty.
Transnistria is a breakaway republic found in Moldova. While not officially recognized, the republic claims sovereignty over the region in Moldova between the Ukraine-Moldova border and the Dniester River. As such, Transnistria shares a land border with Moldova that stretches 255 miles in length. The border delimiting Moldova and Transnistria follows the natural course of the Dniester River. There have been territorial disputes in recent years with some villages said to lie in Transnistria’s territory being governed by Moldova’s central government. Tensions between the two neighbors rose in 2005 and culminated in 2007 with a face-off between Moldova and Transnistria armed forces in the Dubasari-Cocieri region.
For more than two decades, Moldova had no control over the stretch of the border along Transnistria, with the breakaway republic being responsible for securing and monitoring this part of the border. However, Ukraine decided to help Moldova regain control of the section. In a show of solidarity, Ukraine would, in 2006, declare that it would only accept imports of Transnistria-sourced products after Moldovan officials inspected them. The two countries also worked to establish joint border crossings on the Transnistria region. The first joint border crossing point, the Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc crossing, has already been opened which connects Pervomaisc to Kuchurhan, and there are plans of opening 12 such crossings in the future.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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