Day 365: Tensions Rise Over Breakaway Region of Transnistria

    Day 365: Tensions Rise Over Breakaway Region of Transnistria
    Last updated Feb 23, 2023
    Image credit: [via Sky News]


    • On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war, tensions are rising over the breakaway region of Transnistria — a narrow strip of land between the Dniester river in Moldova and the Ukrainian border — sparking fears that a third country could become directly embroiled in the war.
    • During the collapse of the Soviet Union, the mainly Russian-speaking region proclaimed independence from Moldova in 1990 and fought a war until a ceasefire was signed 1992. However, Transnistria's status as a state hasn't been internationally recognized; an estimated 1.5K Russian troops are believed to be currently stationed there.
    • On Thursday, Russia's defense ministry claimed that Ukraine is preparing an "armed false-flag operation" in Transnistria as a pretext for an invasion of the region. Moldovan authorities issued a statement rejecting the claim. Meanwhile, Moldovan Pres. Maia Sandu made separate allegations last week that Russia was preparing a coup in the country — neither of the claims could be independently confirmed.
    • Amid the allegations, however, a new pro-EU government of Moldova was this week sworn in. New Prime Minister Dorin Recean called for the demilitarization of Transnistria and the withdrawal of Russian troops — sparking criticism from Moscow. Meanwhile, Moldova began to rescind agreements with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) — an alliance of ex-Soviet states — while Russian Pres. Putin also canceled a 2012 decree that pledged to respect the sovereignty of Moldova.
    • Elsewhere, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on Thursday demanding that Russia withdraw all its troops from Ukraine — the third of its kind since the start of the war. The move is largely symbolic, however, as only Security Council resolutions are binding.
    • Meanwhile, after Putin said Russia would suspend its participation in the New START nuclear treaty earlier this week, on Thursday he announced Russia would deploy its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile as part of its nuclear arsenal later this year. "A modern, efficient army and navy are a guarantee of the country’s security and sovereignty, a guarantee of its stable development and its future," he said.


    Pro-Russia narrative

    Ukrainian forces are planning a "false-flag operation" in Transnistria to justify launching an invasion of the region. Russia's defense ministry is closely monitoring the situation and will respond accordingly to any changes.

    Anti-Russia narrative

    Russia's claims about a "false-flag operation" in Transnistria are likely a cover for its potential plans to invade Moldova. Not only would this flagrantly violate the sovereignty of another country, but it could also open up a western front in its war with Ukraine.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 40% chance that Moldova will control Transnistria before 2028, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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