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Between Monday and Tuesday in Transnistria, a small pro-Russian separatist republic within Moldova, there were some explosions against public buildings that raised fears of an extension of the ongoing war in neighboring Ukraine also in Moldovan territory.
The most shared opinion among conflict observers is that the attacks were carried out by Russian or pro-Russian forces present in Transnistria, to create a potential pretext that justifies an invasion of Moldova by Russia. The Moldovan government is also convinced of this. The Deputy Minister of the Interior, Sergiu Diaconu, told al New York Times that the attacks were carried out on unused buildings, while there was none inside, and with a type of grenade that are available to the Russian army, the Transnistrian forces and the Gabonese army. “I don’t think Gabon is behind it,” said Diaconu sarcastically New York Times.
Last Friday, Russian general Rustam Minnekayev made some statements about Russia’s future plans: to fully occupy the Donbass and all of southern Ukraine, including the port city of Odessa. Minnekayev had also spoken of Transnistria, explicitly citing the possibility of conquering the areas currently controlled by Ukraine and bordering Transnistria, where according to him “there is evidence that the Russian-speaking population is persecuted”, information similar to other pretexts that the Russia has used it in the past to justify its own aggressive foreign policy or outright military attacks.
According to various analysts, Moldova, precisely because of the situation in Transnistria, could be one of Russia’s next military targets. On Tuesday, Moldovan President Maia Sandu – pro-European and elected in 2020 – held a press conference in which she explicitly mentioned this possibility, adding that Moldova will take all possible measures to avoid an escalation.
– Read also: It is difficult for Transnistria to decide which side to take