Apr 28, 2022 - World

Explosions in Transnistria fuel fears Ukraine war could spread

A checkpoint to enter Transnitria. Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty

Authorities in Transnistria reported explosions this week at sites including state security headquarters and radio towers used to broadcast Russian-language news.

The big picture: Transnistria, a breakaway republic that governs a narrow strip of territory on the border with Ukraine, is an international anomaly dating to the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is aligned with Russia and hosts 1,500 Russian troops, but it's internationally recognized as part of Moldova and uses some Moldovan public services.

  • After the explosions, the separatist government accused Ukrainian saboteurs, Ukraine accused Russia of a false flag operation, Moldova blamed “pro-war forces” within Transnistria, and the Pentagon admitted that it didn’t know who was responsible.
  • Moldova, which has a tiny army, a pro-EU government and an acute reliance on Russia, particularly for energy, is concerned.
  • "We condemn any challenges and attempts to lure the Republic of Moldova into actions that could jeopardize peace in the country," President Maia Sandu said Tuesday. She also accused Russia of using various means to try to destabilize Moldova.

The backdrop: This all happened days after a Russian general said Russia aimed to take all of southern Ukraine to link up with Transnistria.

  • That doesn’t currently look militarily feasible, but as the war continues, the situation in Transnistria will bear watching.

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