Transnistria, breakaway region of Moldova bordering Ukraine, reports explosions
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, speaking in Germany, said the US was looking into the cause of the explosions and was “not really sure what it was”.
“Certainly,” he said, “we don’t want to see an overflow. It is important to ensure that we do everything we can to ensure Ukraine’s success. And that’s the best way to approach it.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN in an interview on Tuesday that it was too early “to know exactly what happened here, who is responsible.”
“We are looking at this as best we can,” he told the news channel.
A Russian military commander said last week that one of the goals was to establish a corridor through southern Ukraine to Transnistria – a strip of land with a population of nearly 500,000 that is backed by Moscow and welcomes Russian troops. The region, which broke away after the collapse of the Soviet Union sparked conflict in the early 1990s, is not recognized as independent by any country, but operates separately from Moldova.
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It was unclear whether the commander’s comments on Transnistria reflected official policy, although Ukraine described them as evidence of the Kremlin’s ambitions beyond its borders and Moldova summoned the ambassador of Russia to express its “deep concern”.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions. A Moldovan government body warned on Monday of possible attempts to “create pretexts to strain the security situation in the Transnistria region”, and the Ukrainian Defense Ministry called the explosions a “planned provocation by Russian special services “.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the country wanted to avoid a scenario in which it “would have to intervene in the conflict in Transnistria”, in a statement carried by the Russian news agency RIA which called the news of explosions a “alarming”. The leader of pro-Moscow separatist forces fighting to extend their grip in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, said the latest incidents in Transnistria “would require the continuation” of military operations by Russia.
What will Transnistria and Russia advance towards Moldova?
Transnistrian leader Vadim Krasnoselsky on Tuesday accused Ukraine of “traces of terrorist attacks”, according to Russian news agency Tass.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu has accused factions in the breakaway region of trying to “destabilize the situation”.
The Washington Post could not independently verify the claims made by any party.
In Transnistria, the Interior Ministry said explosions in the village of Mayak on Tuesday morning damaged two antennas broadcasting Russian radio. He released photos of the collapsed towers a day after he said multiple explosions hit the State Security Ministry building in the capital, Tiraspol, and preliminary reports suggested shells had been fired from it. a rocket launcher.
The ministry said there were no injuries. The Transnistrian chief’s office on Tuesday reported a third incident, an attack on a military unit near the village of Parcani, without giving further details.
As the region increased its security threat level, Moscow said it was watching Transnistria “very closely”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that no contact was planned between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Moldovan counterpart, Sandu. “Of course the news from there is cause for concern,” he said.
Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.