NewsPutin poised to stake claim on Moldova's separatist region, signaling fresh challenge to the West

Putin poised to stake claim on Moldova's separatist region, signaling fresh challenge to the West

Is Putin annexing Transnistria? "He is one step away from seizing the land"
Is Putin annexing Transnistria? "He is one step away from seizing the land"
Images source: © Kremlin, WP

3:15 AM EST, February 24, 2024

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"The so-called Congress of Deputies of all Levels, is set to urge Moscow on February 27, to annex Transnistria to Russia," shares Moldovan portal, while referencing opposition politician from Transnistria, Ghenadie Ciobanu.

Will Putin declare his decision on February 28?

Ciobanu further implies that, following this appeal, when Vladimir Putin addresses the Russian Federal Assembly the subsequent day, he might present a favorable response from Moscow.

The Daily Mail reports that Putin already has approximately 2,000 "peacekeeping forces" on-site. Russia maintains that the majority of the population hopes for incorporation into Moscow. There might also be thousands of Russian paramilitary soldiers present.

There is a prevalent concern that Putin will use his planned speech before the Russian Federal Assembly on the 28th of February to signal approval for the region's annexation. The appeal from the so-called Congress of Deputies of all Levels could present Putin with a perceivably "legal" authority to enter Transnistria.

The dictator has observed the West's inability to adequately supply Ukraine with weapons and hence, presumes his potential annexation might go unchallenged, according to experts consulted by the newspaper.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, adamantly stated that Moscow "has not abandoned its citizens residing in Transnistria in times of distress." Meanwhile, last year, Moldovan President Maia Sandu cautioned that Russia "is scheming a coup in her country".

Ukrainian intelligence has deemed Moscow's alleged move "unconfirmed", but is keeping a stringent watch over the situation.

Analyst: Recognition decision cannot be dismissed

Kamil Całus, an analyst from the Center for Eastern Studies, discussed with PAP that even though no concrete actions have taken place yet, the media and some commentators are already speculating about a possible Russian operation in Transnistria.

- Indeed, Transnistria might call upon Russia for recognition - an appeal which wouldn't be unprecedented. However, from Moscow's perspective, a positive response might not yield substantial benefits, other than escalating tensions in Moldova and the wider region - noted Całus.

According to Całus, such a move from Moscow "would carry little practical significance", and might even showcase Russia's weakness. - Nevertheless, we can't discount a decision to recognize - stressed the analyst.

A more uncertain aspect would be agreeing to the "incorporation of Transnistria". - It is currently not only physically unfeasible but might also expose Transnistria to a likely Ukrainian attack, which Russia could not deflect - assessed Całus.

Source: Daily Mail / PAP

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