Moldova and Transnistria

Ukraine’s President Zelensky has often stated that if Russian aggression does not stop at Ukraine, more countries will be invaded or will become Russian puppets because they fear the military presence of Russia. I agree, and it is the smaller and more unstable countries to go first. It will not necessarily be countries that lie on their borders. There are a number of smaller countries in Africa, which for the right price can be bought off.

Transnistria is a region on the southeastern border of Moldova. It is a breakaway state from Moldova, occupying a narrow strip of land on the Moldova-Ukraine border. Its capital is Tirispol. The Council of Europe considers the territory to be under military occupation by Russia. It is internationally recognized as a part of Moldova, but it is independent in many aspects. Per Wikipedia:

“Transnistria is an unrecognised but de facto independent presidential republic with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, currency, and vehicle registration. Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms. After a 2005 agreement between Moldova and Ukraine, all Transnistrian companies that seek to export goods through the Ukrainian border must be registered with the Moldovan authorities.”

It was created by a ceasefire agreement in 1992, the first year with Yeltsin in office. It is a ceasefire agreement designed to end the violence broke out in 1990. The population of Transnistria is divided, with 29% Russian, 29% Moldovan and 23% Ukrainian. It has a higher percentage of Russians than the rest of Moldova.

Per Wikipedia:

The language laws presented a particularly volatile issue as a great proportion of the non-Moldovan population of the Moldavian SSR did not speak Moldovan (Romanian). … Some described the language laws as “discriminatory” and criticized their rapid implementation. Others, on the contrary, complained the laws were not followed.

Wikipedia Transnistria

Wikipedia Transnistria War


My concerns that Russia would use unrecognized Transnistria region to attack Ukraine appears to quickly becoming a reality. Putin is using a standard ploy of posing as the defender of Transnistria instead of the invader. This was exactly the same pretext as used a year ago. Russia had to invade the Dunbas region, to defend the populace against the Ukrainian “nazis.”

The President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, who wants her country to join the European Union, accused Moscow this month (February 2023) of planning a coup to topple Moldova’s leadership. Moscow denied the allegation. “The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to Moldova will not work. Our main goal is the security of citizens and the state. (The Guardian)

What has maintained the peace between Transnistria and Moldova, is the Joint Control Commission, which included both Moldova and Russian troops as a peacekeeping force. Of course, Putin wants to invade Transnistria and control it, and the ceasefire agreement is in his way. Transnistria will be critical to attacking Odesa and controlling the Black Sea ports.

The headline in Reuters, February 24, 2023 read, “Russia told the West on Friday that it would view as an attack on itself any actions that threatened Russian peacekeepers in Moldova’s breakaway Transdniestria region, one day after Moscow accused Ukraine of planning an invasion.”

Link: Russia warns West over threatening its troops in breakaway Moldovan region

So, Russia now is setting the stage for invading Transnistria (note minor spelling differences) on the absurd pretext of protecting its peacekeeping force of perhaps 1700 troops.

It is a terrible development as Russia is set on expanding the conflict, really just like President Zelensky said he would. Romania is strongly allied with Moldova, in its support of Ukraine. Romania has been part of NATO since 2004.

This small sliver of the breakaway state of Transnistria looks to become a red hot point of contention with Russia acting like they own it.

Stay tuned,