US warns of ‘escalation of tensions’ in region

The United States on Tuesday warned of attempts to “escalate tensions” after a series of explosions in the pro-Russian breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, which borders Ukraine.

“We remain concerned about any potential attempt to escalate tensions,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, without attributing responsibility for the blasts to Moscow.

“We don’t know all the details,” Price added.

“We reiterate the Moldovan government’s call for calm in response to these incidents and fully support Moldova’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he added.

Transnistria seceded from Moldova after a brief civil war in 1992, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, of which both Moldova and Ukraine were part.

The breakaway region, of approximately 500,000 inhabitants, has its own currency, but is extremely dependent on Russia, which provides free gas and has 1,500 troops deployed in this territory.

The recent blasts targeted the Ministry of State Security, a radio tower and a military unit and came days after a Russian commander claimed that Russian-speaking Moldovans were being oppressed.

These statements raised concern in Moldova, as Moscow said the same after invading Ukraine on February 24.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Moldova shortly after the invasion of Ukraine as part of a show of support for both the country’s sovereignty and its efforts to welcome refugees.

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