The atmosphere in Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria, which borders Ukraine, has intensified this week. On Monday, the explosions shook the building of the local Ministry of State Security, and on Tuesday the explosions shut down a pair of radio transmitters. A military unit near the capital was also to be the target of the attacks.
Concerns about how the situation with this pro-Russian separatist state in Moldova will develop during the war in Ukraine have been on the table for some time. According to Moldovan President Maiya Sandu, Transnistrian “pro-war factions” are behind the latest incidents, and the attacks are an attempt to exacerbate tensions.
Further developments came on Wednesday, when the Transnistrian Ministry of the Interior published a statement according to which the region was facing attacks from Ukraine. At night, they allegedly saw several drones released from Ukrainian territory above the village of Kolbasna, and on Wednesday morning, shots allegedly came from the neighboring country.
In the same statement, the ministry also points out that there is a weapons depot in Kolbasna, which according to experts is “the largest ammunition depot in Europe”.
Ukrainians in Transnistria?
However, Ukraine’s rhetoric is moving elsewhere. According to Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenský, Ukrainian troops could enter Transnistria, but Kyiv would have to ask Moldova to do so.
“Somehow we could do it,” the adviser asked when Ukraine could take control of the pro-Russian region. “But it is the territory of sovereign Moldova, we cannot afford such statements. Only at the request of the Moldovan side. “
“The best thing that Moldova can do in my opinion is to ask Ukraine and Romania for help,” the New Voice of Ukraine website added. “Romanians are people who are close to them and want to get involved. And Romania is a NATO country, an EU country. (…) It is important to understand that, for us, Moldova is the closest neighbor whose fate we care about. “
Moldova is also worried about its fate in connection with the supply of Russian raw materials. The country is 100% dependent on Russia in this regard and has been facing a major energy crisis since December last year. Energy is able to swallow half the salary of people in this poor country.
Russia has completely stopped gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. This was due to the fact that the local gas companies refused to pay for gas in rubles. According to the international resource and energy market expert Vladimir Demidov, to which the Russian online daily Lenta refers, Moldova or Slovakia could now be next in line.
History of Transnistria
Transnistria has been a problematic region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1990, the people on the east bank of the Dniester River in the then Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic decided that, despite the collapse of the empire, they wanted to continue living in the USSR. However, Moldova was one of the first rebel republics to strive for independence.
The events led to a short civil war. Russian troops occupied the eastern bank of the river, but they could no longer prevent the disintegration of the Union, and an independent Republic of Moldova was created. However, Russia maintained a bridgehead – the Transnistrian Republic with the capital Tiraspol, which no state has recognized.
Russia has the support of a region where less than 500,000 people live in a narrow strip of the territory of an unrecognized republic, to this day. From the point of view of Moldova and the European Union, and basically the whole world, however, they are living in a legal vacuum. The world does not recognize their institutions, their elections, or their borders.
When Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, some Transnistrian leaders envisioned the same future for their region. The war that is currently taking place in Ukraine is thus causing the wrinkles of the rest of small Moldova, whose army does not have much strength.
The Moldovan army numbers approximately 5,000 to 7,500 active soldiers and about 65,000 to 70,000 reservists. Transnistria alone, according to some estimates, now has around 7,500 troops, and there are currently about 1,500 Russian troops in the region.
War in Ukraine
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