Republic of Moldova
Attacks in Transnistria: Is the war threatening to escalate?
So far it has been quiet in the Republic of Moldova with its pro-Russian separatist area on the Dniester River. But now bombs are exploding there. Is Russia’s war against Ukraine threatening to escalate?
On the southwest flank of war-torn Ukraine, the situation is coming to a head with mysterious attacks in the Moldovan separatist region of Transnistria.
In the narrow strip of land on the Dniester River inhabited by many Russians, the regional state security building has been under fire since Monday and two radio transmission masts have been blown up. There were also allegedly explosions in a barracks near the Tiraspol military airfield. The President of Transnistria, Vadim Krasnoselski, spoke of terrorist attacks on Tuesday. According to the information, no one was injured.
Ukraine and Russia accused each other of wanting to escalate the war with such provocations. The President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, interpreted the unrest as an expression of internal conflicts in the separatist region, which was split off in 1992. “We are interested in peace and tranquility on the banks of the Dniester,” she said in Chisinau after discussions with her Security Council. The poor ex-Soviet Republic of Moldova is orienting itself towards the EU under Sandu’s leadership.
Backing up the separatists in Transnistria is a contingent of Russian soldiers who are still stationed there. The ceasefire with Moldova is being monitored by a mission from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This called on all parties involved to exercise restraint and calm.
Ukraine warns against activation of Russian troops
The Ukrainian military warned against the activation of Russian troops in Transnistria. “The units of the Russian armed forces have been put on full combat readiness,” said a report by the Ukrainian general staff published on Facebook on Tuesday evening.
In addition, the security forces of the Moldovan separatists have been put on increased alert. Tiraspol accused Kyiv of organizing them. Kyiv rejected the allegations and said that the Russian secret service FSB wanted to draw Transnistria into the Russian war against Ukraine.
Russian missile attack damages railway bridge
“Russia wants to destabilize the Transnistria region,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Poldolyak wrote on Telegram. “The bad news: if Ukraine falls, Russian troops will be at Chisinau tomorrow.”
In Kyiv, the statement by a Russian commander last week that Moscow wanted to bring all of southern Ukraine up to Transnistria under control was recalled. To date, Ukraine has dominated the port city of Odessa and the Black Sea coast. However, a Russian missile attack on Tuesday damaged the railway bridge over the Dniester estuary on the Black Sea. This tears off an important supply route for fuel and other goods from the EU country Romania.
Moscow is concerned about the news from Transnistria, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The senior Russian parliamentarian Leonid Kalashnikov said: “The events in Transnistria are a provocation with the aim of drawing Russia even deeper into the war in the region.” The traces of the attacks led to Ukraine, said separatist leader Krasnoselski.