Find out what Transnistria is and why Russia wants this region

Creation of a land corridor between Crimera and Donbass and the loss of Ukrainian access to the Black Sea are the main objectives of the Russians; US and Moldova express concern over escalation of conflict

REUTERS/Gleb Garanichwhat is transnistria
Statue of communist leader Lenin in front of the Parliament building in Tiraspol, in the breakaway Transnistrian region of Moldova

On Friday, the 22nd, the general of the forces of the military district in the center of RussiaRustam Minnikhanov, stated that in addition to the Donbass, controlled by separatists, the Russians are also interested in dominating southern Ukraine, which would make it possible to form a corridor to Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway republic in eastern Ukraine. Moldavia. THE Kremlin has not yet commented on this information, however, since the announcement, the government of Moldova has expressed its deep concern and has seen the site become the target of attacks, such as the one that occurred this Wednesday, 27, which hit a radio center and safety.

Officials in the pro-Russian separatist region announced that a village on the border with Ukraine had been shot at. “At night, several drones were seen over the village of Cobasna,” the Transnistrian Interior Ministry said in an official statement. “Fire shots were recorded from Ukraine, which did not cause casualties”, the text continues. The village, located two kilometers from the border with the Eastern European country, houses a large depot of Soviet-era weapons that is under the control of Russian soldiers deployed in that territory. The possible formation of a land route and domination of southern Ukraine would make it impossible for the Ukrainians to have access to the Black Sea – at the beginning of the conflict the Russians tried to dominate the region of Odessa and Mikolaiv, located in the south of the country.

What is Transnistria?

Moldova is one of the countries that belonged to the Soviet Union and became an independent state after the fall of the bloc. However, in the early 1990s, there was a conflict between the newly independent Republic of Moldova and the separatists from Transnistria – which has a narrow strip of land of about 3,490 kilometers, situated between Ukraine and the rest of the country –, which wanted to remain connected to Russia. With that, in 1992, the region seceded from Moldova after a brief civil war that lasted two years.

Despite having its own constitution, army, currency and flag, Transnistria was never recognized by the international community, not even Russia which intervened to support the separation. Currently, it has about 500,000 inhabitants who are extremely dependent on the Russian government, which provides free gas and has 1,500 soldiers deployed in this territory. The Moldovans do not give much importance to this region and classify it as a “end of the world stuck in the Soviet era”, where statues of Lenin still stand. There, it is not possible to use international cards and only one company, called Sheriff, has control over practically everything.

transnistria

General Rustam Minnikhanov’s desire to establish a land connection with Transnistria has generated worldwide concern, as interests like this have been repeated for years on the Russian side, which uses this argument to invade other locations that were part of the Soviet Union, such as Georgia and Ukraine. The Kremlin, Moldova and the U.S demonstrate concerns about the escalation of conflict in this region. At a press conference, Moldovan President Maia Sandu stated that “from the information we have at the moment, these attempts to escalate the situation come from factions within the Transnistria region that are pro-war forces and are interested in destabilizing the situation. in the region”. As soon as the conflict in Ukraine began, Moldova applied for membership of the European Union. Transnistrian leaders, however, said they did not have the same intention and demanded the creation of two independent states.

Ukraine also accuses the Russians of trying to drag the breakaway region of Transnistria into the middle of their war against Kiev. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Moldova shortly after the conflict began as part of a show of support for both the country’s sovereignty and its efforts to welcome refugees. State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed concern about the explosions, but reiterated “the Moldovan government’s call for calm in response to these incidents and we fully support Moldova’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” The Americans are monitoring developments. If General Minnikhanov’s information is confirmed, it will become clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin has much greater ambitions than liberating Donbass. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov took a stand on Minnikhanov’s testimony. On his Twitter, he declared: “They have stopped hiding”, referring to Russia and its real intentions in the conflict with Ukraine.

About Abhishek Pratap

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