ISSN 2330-717X

Via Southern Ukraine, Russia Eyes ‘Another Route’ To Moldova’s Transnistria

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By Madalin Necsutu

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By establishing control over southern Ukraine, Russia will secure “another route” to Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria, where Russian troops have been based since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a senior Russian military commander was quoted as saying on Friday.

“Control over southern Ukraine is another route to Transnistria, where there is also evidence that the Russian-speaking population is being oppressed,” Russian news agency TASS quoted Major General Rustam Minnekayev as saying.

Such comments, echoing part of the Kremlin’s official rationale for invading Ukraine on February 24, will fuel concern in Moldova about Russian intentions in the rebel region.

By seizing parts of southern Ukraine, Russia wants a land corridor between Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine where Russian forces are now concentrating their efforts.

Minnekayev’s words may indicate even greater ambitions. Some Ukrainian and Moldovan military analysts suspect that Russia plans to involve its forces, as well as local paramilitaries, in Transnistria in an attack on the nearby Black Sea port of Odessa.

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Russia has had around 2,000 soldiers in Transnistria since 1992. One part belong to a peacekeeping mission which has a mandate to be on Moldovan soil; the other is the Operative Group of Russian Troops, OGRT, which guards a massive ammunition depot and is considered illegal by Moldova and the West.

OGTR falls under the Russian army’s Western District, based in Saint Petersburg.

Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, was speaking at the annual meeting of the Union of Defence Industries of the Sverdlovsk Region.

“It seems that we are now at war with the whole world, as it was in the Great Patriotic War, the whole of Europe, the entire world is against us. They never liked Russia anyway,” he said.

“We didn’t start this war, but we will finish it.”

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

One thought on “Via Southern Ukraine, Russia Eyes ‘Another Route’ To Moldova’s Transnistria

  • April 25, 2022 at 4:16 am
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    “It seems that we are now at war with the whole world, as it was in the Great Patriotic War, the whole of Europe, the entire world is against us. They never liked Russia anyway”

    Wow. Perhaps the author just forgot about the U.K., the USA, and all the other nations that fought as part of the Allies with the Soviet Union in WWII. Maybe all the equipment that was sent to help them fight the Nazis was just a mirage. If Russian generals get those little facts wrong, I wonder what else Russian leadership is saying that is nonsense?

    Reply

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