Over 97% of the population in the breakaway region of Transdniestr, in the Moldovan Republic, voted in favour of independence in a referendum organized in this regard on Sunday, the first official results show.

In a statement on Monday, the Romanian government said it did not recognize the referendum as it "ignored international law and the constitutional law of the Moldovan Republic, in the absence of any conditions for acceptance of legitimacy".

The EU, the Council of Europe and the OSCE have explicitly said they did not recognize the validity of the referendum as their interest was made clear: a long as the EU borders - once Romania joins the EU, moves eastwards to the Moldovan Republic, stability is all that matters in the region.

The referendum called by separatist leader Igor Smirnov asked some 400,000 voters to answer two questions: “Do you support the effort towards Transdniestr independence, to be followed by its freely accepted union with the Russian Federation?” and “Do you find abandoning Transdniestr independence, to be followed by its integration with the Moldovan Republic, acceptable?”

It is the latest in a long series of such referendums held in the Transdniestr region, which has been bushing for independence since a short war to separate from the Moldovan Republic in the nineties. The region has all the elements of statehood including its own currency and flag, but is not recognized internationally.

It’s only support comes from Moscow, which has established a significant military “peacekeeping” force in the region.