Over the past few days, multiple attacks and explosions have been reported in the breakaway Transnistria region of Moldova that borders Ukraine. Transnistria has been a de facto independent state since 1992 and hosts about 1,500 Russian troops on a “peacekeeping” mission.
On Monday, several explosions that were said to be caused by rocket-propelled grenades reportedly hit Transnistria’s Ministry of State Security in the capital Tiraspol. On Tuesday, the territory’s Security Council said a “terrorist attack” hit a military unit near Tiraspol.
Vadim Krasnoselsky, the leader of Transnistria, said the attacks could be traced back to Ukraine. “The traces of these attacks lead to Ukraine,” Krasnoselsky said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency. “I assume that those who organized this attack have the purpose of dragging Transdniestria into the conflict.”
Both Russia and Moldovan President Maia Sandu expressed concern about the attacks. “This is an attempt to escalate tensions. We decisively condemn such acts,” Sandu said. She attributed the blasts to “internal differences between various groups in Transnistria that have an interest in destabilizing the situation.”
The attacks in Transnistria came after a Russian general said Moscow could seize Ukraine’s Black Sea coast to create a corridor to the breakaway territory, although it’s not clear if that is one of Russia’s official goals. “Control over the south of Ukraine is another way to Transnistria, where there is also evidence that the Russian-speaking population is being oppressed,” said Rustam Minnekaev, the commander of Russia’s Central Military District.