Moldova’s President Says Transnistria Attacks Are An Attempt To Escalate Tensions

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Transnistria

President Maia Sandu said on April 26 that several alleged attacks in Moldova’s Moscow-backed breakaway region of Transnistria were an attempt to escalate tensions, blaming “pro-war factions” within the territory’s administration.

Sandu spoke to the media after a meeting of Moldova’s Supreme Security Council following claims by authorities in Transnistria that two radio relays were damaged by blasts and a military unit was targeted on April 26 amid rising tensions in the region, which borders conflict-wracked Ukraine.

Earlier, the region’s self-styled Interior Ministry said the two radio relays were damaged by blasts.

“In the early morning of April 26, two explosions occurred in the village of Maiak, Grigoriopol district: the first at 6:40 and the second at 7:05”, the ministry said. It said that two radio antennas were knocked out following the blasts.

No one was injured, it said.

The information could not be independently verified, and there has been no claim of responsibility or reports of casualties.

Separately, Transnistria’s Security Council reported a “terrorist attack” on a military unit near the city of Tiraspol, without elaborating. It also said it had raised the “terrorist threat level” to red, established checkpoints, and canceled the May 9 military parade.

The two alleged incidents came a day after Transnistria’s Ministry of State Security said its building in Tiraspol, the region’s largest city, was allegedly hit by explosions that damaged the upper floors of its building.

The Moldovan government said it believes that the April 25 incident “is related to the creation of pretexts for the tension in the security situation in the Transnistria region, which is not controlled by the constitutional authorities.”

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said the alleged attack was a provocation organized by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

The ministry’s Intelligence Directorate in a statement said the incident was “one of a number of provocative measures organized by the FSB to instill panic and anti-Ukrainian sentiment.”

Transdniester, a sliver of land between Moldova proper and Ukraine, declared independence in 1990.

In 1992, Moldova and Transnistria fought a short war that was quelled by Russian forces that intervened on the side of the separatists. Some 1,000 people were killed in that conflict.

Russia maintains some 1,400 troops in Transnistria and has control over huge Soviet-era arms depots located in the region.

On April 22, the acting commander of Russia’s Central Military District, Rustam Minnekayev, said that Russian forces aimed to take full control of southern Ukraine, saying such a move would also open a land corridor to Transnistria.