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July 16, 2024
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Russia Considers Transnistria as Russian Territory, Threatens to Retaliate if Attacked

Transnistria is a de facto independent country that broke away from Moldova in 1991 when the former Soviet country of Moldova gained independence. Russia has constantly shown interest in that territory, and Russian troops have been stationed here since Moldova – Transnistria military conflict ended in 1992. The infamous 14th Army of the Red Army has constantly been a threat to Moldova, and the number of Russian military personnel stationed in Tiraspol is unknown to this day.

If, until now, Russia has never firmly and officially expressed its interest in Transnistria, this time is official: Russia has announced that it considers Transnistria as Russian Federation’s territory and threatened to intervene militarily if foreign armies enter the republic.

In connection with the significant accumulation of Ukrainian military personnel and equipment near the border between Ukraine and Transnistria, as noted by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the deployment of artillery placed in firing positions, as well as the increased number to an unprecedented level of flights of Ukrainian drones over the territory of the Transnistrian, we warn the US, NATO and their Ukrainian henchmen not to take adventurous actions. The Army of the Russian Federation will respond to the Kyiv regime’s provocations if any action takes place, ensuring the protection of the compatriots of the Transnistrian region. Any action that will be a danger to them will be considered, in accordance with international laws, as an attack on the Russian Federation.

Official statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Transnistria, or Transdniestria, has just become a significant stake in the Ukrainian – Russian conflict, and it could be the first Russian move to expand the war regionally. If Russia considers it a Russian territory, it can bring as many troops as necessary to defend it. Thus, that small, independent, unrecognized republic could be the first step for the conflict to escalate internationally.

Earlier this week, Romania’s President Klaus Johannis offered his controversial statement. He said that Romania would stand by Moldova in any circumstance, and this made the political pundits in Bucharest debate if this included a possible Russian military intervention in Moldova. Either way, Romania is a NATO member and cannot involve in a conflict by sending troops without NATO approval.

Also this week, Ukraine warned Moldova that Russia could invade the country or destabilize the democratic regime. Diplomatic talks between Moldova’s President Maia Sandu and Western political leaders took this scenario as probable.

Will NATO agree to be involved in a direct conflict with Russia? Less probably, since Ukraine seems to be a better playground for testing the Russian abilities in a conflict. Besides, Transnistria is a whole new story, and involving Transnistria in conflict means involving Moldova, thus pressuring Romania to take action, which could drag NATO into a confrontation with the Red Army.

Russia’s and Romania’s official statements will likely remain at this level, but they drew a new red line in the conflict. In diplomacy, it can be translated as “don’t send NATO forces to Moldova, or we will increase our military presence in Transnistria”.

Even so, the tone of the messages between Russia and Romania is not diplomatic, and we live in times when weapons speak louder than diplomats.

The de facto independence of Transnistria

Like all the other European countries, the Republic of Moldova has never recognized Transnistria as a country but only as an administration under Moldovan authority. This didn’t stop Transnistria from having its own government, army, flag, coat of arms, anthem, economy, sports federations, and national car plate registration system. When entering Transnistria, you can notice you are in an independent territory with its own rules, where Russia is the official language.

Yet, Sheriff Tiraspol plays in the Moldovan Football Championship and has been dominating the competition for the last few years. Sheriff couldn’t have played football in Europe without being registered in Moldova, and it even proves it plays football very well.

The situation in Transnistria is complicated, but life seems to go on even in the most challenging circumstances. Russians, Ukrainians and Romanians living in the separatist territory will certainly continue their daily routine despite the threatening messages from Moscow, Kyiv or Bucharest.

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