Ukraine conflict: Explosions hit Transnistria

Mysterious explosions in Transnistria, a breakaway Russian-controlled territory in Moldova bordering on Ukraine, have raised fears that the Ukraine conflict may be spreading.

Separatist authorities said Ukrainian “infiltrators” were responsible. But Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has blamed Russian special services.

Russia said it was concerned. It has about 1,500 troops in Transnistria.

An official has said Russian speakers in Moldova were being oppressed.

This was the same excuse used to justify the invasion of Ukraine.

No casualties were reported, but a red “anti-terrorism” alert was now in force, meaning heightened security in the territorywhich broke away from Moldova in a brief war in 1992.

A Transnistria official said three unidentified infiltrators from Ukraine had attacked the security HQ with a grenade launcher. That claim has not been verified.

The Kremlin said it was watching the situation closely and “it is a cause for concern”.

In Kyiv, President Zelensky was clear that Russia was behind it, adding,”The goal is obvious – to destabilise the situation in the region, to threaten Moldova. They show that if Moldova supports Ukraine, there will be certain steps.”

“But we understand their capabilities, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready for this and are not afraid of them,” Mr Zelensky said on Tuesday.

A flare-up in Transnistria could destabilise Moldova and open up a new front in the Ukraine war. Odesa, Ukraine’s key port city, lied just east of Transnistria.

If Russia reinforces Transnistria, it might then move on to Odesa from the west. Its push on the city from the east was blocked by Ukrainian troops. That would divert Ukrainian forces who already were seriously stretched.

On Friday, a top Russian general, Rustam Minnekayev, said “control over the south of Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria, where there are also cases of oppression of the Russian-speaking population”.

President Vladimir Putin has pledged to “protect” ethnic Russians in ex-Soviet republics. That was his argument for invading Ukraine. Moldova was formerly a Soviet republic.

Today Moldova’s closest ally was Romania, but unlike Romania, Moldova was not in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or the European Union (EU). Many Moldovans have Romanian passports and worked in the EU. -BBC

Show More
Back to top button