Updated March 9th, 2022 at 14:30 IST
Russia could use 800 servicemen from Transnistria to bolster offensive against Ukraine
Though unrecognized by the international community, Russia still has a military base in Transnistria as well as a stockpile of some 20,000 tonnes of munitions.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces has claimed that Russia is still looking at the possibility of involving up to 800 servicemen from the unrecognized breakaway state of Transnistria in its ongoing war against Ukraine. This narrow strip of land located between Moldova and Ukraine proclaimed its independence in 1990 after Moldova stepped away from the Soviet Union.
⚡️Russia does not rule out the possibility of involving up to 800 servicemen from the unrecognized breakaway state of Transnistria in its war against Ukraine, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on March 9.— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 9, 2022
Geographically, Transnistria plays a significant role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This is because the Russian-backed region is located along much of Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine. Through Moldova, Russia can besiege Ukraine with the help of Belarus in the north.
Map of Transnistria (Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons)
Though unrecognized by the international community, Moscow still has a military base in Transnistria as well as a stockpile of some 20,000 tonnes of munitions.
Operational Group of Russian Forces headquarters in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria
Transnistria denies preparing to join Russian's war with Ukraine
However, Transnistria as recently as last Saturday denied that it is mobilizing forces for war with Ukraine in a series of government statements.
"We, Pridnestrovians, are a people who know what war is, and we are a people who know how important it is to appreciate and preserve peace," the statement read. "We believe that in the light of recent events in Ukraine, our best and most correct reaction should not be marches and banners, but the preservation of calm in our multinational republic, the preservation of peace."
Moldovan President Maia Sandu recently said there had not yet been any indication that the roughly 1,500 Russian soldiers based in Transnistria had changed posture, but stressed that it was a concern given what is happening in Ukraine. Moldova has been coping with an influx of refugees from Ukraine and warily watching Russia's intensifying war with its neighbor.
Russia-Ukraine war has lasted for 14 days with President Volodymyr Zelenksyy urging the UK to recognize Russia as a "terrorist state". The US has announced a ban on Russian energy imports while Ukraine’s President urged Britain to strengthen sanctions against Moscow. Zelenskyy has vowed that his country will "fight to the end".
(With inputs from agency)
Published March 9th, 2022 at 14:30 IST