The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces today warned of what it described as “preparations for imminent combat” by armed groups and Russian troops in Transnistria, a breakaway territory in neighboring Moldova.
The forces concentrated in that territory are “in full preparation” for combat, according to a statement from the General Staff, released by the Unian information portal.
Ukrainian authorities have been warning for weeks of a possible extension of the conflict towards that pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova.
Attacks by unidentified ‘drones’ [unmanned aerial devices] have been reported in Transnistria.
The situation in Transnistria began to get tense in late April after a series of shootings and explosions in government buildings and infrastructure, which separatist authorities say came from Ukrainian territory.
Kyiv claimed it was a “false flag” operation by Russia to blame Ukraine for the attacks, in addition to preparations to launch an offensive, while Russia described these incidents as an attempt to drag Ukraine into armed conflict in Ukraine.
It is estimated that Russia has permanently stationed in Transnistria, with half a million inhabitants, and a contingent of around 1,500 soldiers.
Moldova has applied for membership of the European Union (EU), while Transnistria has asked for its independence to be recognized following this decision given by Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.
Transnistria, a territory of just over half a million, mostly Slavs, severed ties with Moldova after an armed conflict (1992-1993), during which it received assistance from Russia.
Under the Agreement on the Peaceful Resolution of the Conflict in Transnistria, signed in July 1992, Russia sent 2,400 troops to guarantee peace in the area, but this number has been reduced over the years.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and the military offensive has already killed more than 3,000 civilians, according to the UN, which warns that the real number is likely to be much higher.
The military offensive caused the flight of more than 13 million people, of which more than 5.5 million were out of the country, according to the latest UN data.
The Russian invasion was condemned by the international community in general, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and reinforcing economic and political sanctions on Moscow.
Source: With Agencies