Destabilizing speculation

Russia justifies possible offensive in Transnistria as Ukraine warns of ‘false flag’ operation

Topline

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday became the most senior Kremlin official to acknowledge a series of explosions this week in Transnistria, a pro-Russian separatist region within internationally recognized borders. of Moldova – and his comments suggest that Russia is using the attacks as justification. to target the region in its ongoing war with Ukraine.

Highlights

Zakharova told a press briefing that the explosions in Transnistria on Monday and Tuesday are “acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing the region”, according to Russian news agency TASS.

The explosions are evidence of an “escalation of tension” and are “attempts to implicate Transnistria in the events in Ukraine”, Zakharova said according to a statement. Tweeter of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Attacks targeting Transnistria state security buildings and a broadcast center are of unknown origin, but Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says Russia was behind the blasts in Transnistria as part of an operation false flag to justify an offensive in the region, a common accusation against Russia. to use staged violence to rationalize a military operation.

Zakharova has dismissed talk of a Russian offensive in the region as “sensational”, according to TASS – despite most speculation coming after Russian Major General Rustam Minnekayev said on Friday that the Russian military was seeking to establish “full control” over the south and east. Ukraine as a “way to Transnistria and the time of the explosions”.

Key Context

Although internationally recognized as part of Moldova, the Moldovan government has little control over the largely autonomous region of Transnistria that borders southern Ukraine. Transnistria is home to strong pro-Kremlin sentiments and around 1,500 Russian troops are stationed in the region. The Moldovan government said the blasts were aimed at destabilizing Transnistria without attributing the violence to any specific group, and the country’s president, Maia Sandu, said unrest in the region ‘poses risks’ to Moldova’s security in its entirety.

crucial quote

Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the United States, Told CNN Thursday: “If Ukraine falls, I think Putin will go after other countries in southeastern Europe and the Balkans…. We are already seeing Russian destabilization efforts there…just enough to unbalance those countries.

Further reading

Why Russia would want to capture lands leading to Moldovan Transnistria (Forbes)

More blasts hit Moscow-backed Transnistria as fears grow Moldova will become a new front in the Russian invasion (Forbes)

Mysterious attacks in Transnistria add further intrigue to the war in Ukraine (Washington Post)