NewsMoldova's separatist region seeks Moscow's support amid tensions

Moldova's separatist region seeks Moscow's support amid tensions

In Moldova, it's getting very hot. All because of the actions of pro-Putin separatists.
In Moldova, it's getting very hot. All because of the actions of pro-Putin separatists.
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11:05 AM EST, March 1, 2024
Separatists from the Transnistria region in the Republic of Moldova have appealed to Moscow for help, a move that has gone unmentioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his recent address to the nation. This omission has raised questions about the Kremlin's intentions, with Deutsche Welle asking if Russia is preparing for another conflict and citing warnings about a potential "prelude to invasion."
On Wednesday, deputies from the separatist Transnistria region requested Russia's assistance to "defend" themselves against what they describe as "increased pressure" from Moldova. This appeal was reported by the Moldovan news portal NewsMaker.
Tensions Rise in Moldova: Potential for Russian Destabilization?
The American Institute for War Studies (ISW) has outlined several potential scenarios in response to Transnistria's request for Russian aid. Among these, the ISW views the possibility of the Kremlin formally annexing Transnistria to justify a military intervention against Moldova as the most dangerous scenario.
However, the ISW also suggests that Moscow might opt to maintain the status quo between Transnistria and Chisinau or increase diplomatic pressure on Moldova, especially after Moldova lifted customs reliefs for Transnistria.
Deutsche Welle Discusses an Intensifying Conflict in Moldova
Deutsche Welle examines the escalating conflict in Moldova, suggesting that a full-scale war is unlikely at present due to Russia's lack of a direct border with Moldova. Nonetheless, the situation remains uncertain.
According to Deutsche Welle, around 1,500-2,000 Russian soldiers are stationed in Transnistria, supplemented by Transnistrian forces. This combined military presence could significantly overpower Moldova's modest and under-equipped army, which consists of about 5,000 soldiers.
Moreover, Deutsche Welle highlights the existence of a large weapons depot in northern Transnistria, further underscoring the potential for military advantage.
Russia's Entry into the Odessa Region: A Prelude to Moldova's Invasion?
The presence of Russian forces in the Odessa region could signal the beginning of an invasion of Moldova, suggests Deutsche Welle. Politically, it notes that Moldova is perceived as lost to Russia, similar to Ukraine, especially after the European Union's decision to begin accession negotiations with Chisinau.
With a pro-European majority among Moldova's populace, and many holding Romanian citizenship and thus EU passports, the demographic landscape further distances Moldova from Russian influence.
Evidence of Russia's Unwavering Claims and Hybrid Warfare
Deutsche Welle reports on Russia's ongoing hybrid warfare tactics in Moldova, highlighting pro-Russian parties' campaigns against Moldovan President Maia Sandu and the pro-Western government led by Prime Minister Dorin Recean. These efforts are financially supported by pro-Russian oligarch Ilan Shor, among others, and aim to destabilize Moldova ahead of upcoming presidential elections and a referendum on joining the EU.
Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popsoi expressed concerns to Deutsche Welle about these attempts to destabilize the country before the critical electoral events this fall.
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