Two women walk past a destroyed artillery piece in Tirasopol. Moldova gained its independence, along with all the other former Soviet Republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. As in other republics, an internal ethnic Russian population remained. In Moldova they were mainly in the Transnistria region and resisted moves by Moldova to draw closer to it neighbor in Romania and to make Romanian the official language. Civil war broke out in late 1991 between local Russian speaking separatists, supported by Cossacks and Russia's 14th Army and the newly formed but under-equipped Moldovan army.The Russian side won and Transnistria remains a semi-autonomous region inside Moldova but its autonomous status is not recognised internationally.