Ukrainian military assesses threat from Russian-occupied Transnistria as low
The military does not exclude provocations and border shelling by Russian-occupied Transnistria (Photo:Slava Murava Kiss / Flickr)
There may be cross-border shelling, and sabotage and reconnaissance groups may be active in provocations coming from unrecognized Transnistria, but there is no risk of a second front opening on Ukraine’s western flank, Ukraine’s military believes.
The head of the Joint Coordination Press Center of the Southern Defense Forces, Natalia Humeniuk, gave the Ukrainian military’s assessment on the situation in Moldova and Transnistria during the national telethon program on March 1.
"The defense forces at the border (will be able to give a proper) response (if there is a) likelihood of threats coming from that direction," she said.
“They are not critical at the moment. We’re talking about the possible activity of sabotage and reconnaissance groups, or some provocations such as shelling of the state border — those are not ruled out. We’re watching closely. Currently, there is no activity on the other side of the border.”
She said the number of Russian troops in Transnistria is not enough to open a second front. The occupying forces need support for such actions, but they cannot get it physically, as landlocked Transnitria is surrounded by NATO- and Ukrainian-controlled air space.
"That is why we are seeing more information and psychological operations in Moldova, where they are trying to undermine the socio-political system," Humeniuk said.
On Feb. 9, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukrainian intelligence had intercepted a Russian plan to destroy political stability in Moldova.
On Feb. 20, he said that Moscow was considering a coup d'état in Moldova, seizing the airport in Chisinau and deploying its military through it.
This was later confirmed by new Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean, who also called for the demilitarization of Transnistria and the expulsion of the Russian troops from there.
The head of the Moldovan Security and Intelligence Service, Alexandru Musteata, said that Russia could launch an offensive against Moldova as early as 2023.
On Feb. 28, the so-called Ministry of Defense of unrecognized Transnistria announced a three-month military training campaign.
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