CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) – Authorities in the tiny breakaway region of Transnistria in Moldova denied “absolutely untrue” claims Saturday by Ukraine that Russian troops based there are massing to conduct “provocations” along Ukraine’s border.
Earlier Saturday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Russian troops already in Transnistria were preparing for “a demonstration of readiness for the offensive and, possibly, hostilities against Ukraine.”
“The information disseminated by the General Staff of Ukraine is absolutely untrue,” Transnistria’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that leaders have repeatedly “declared the absence of any threat to Ukraine.”
While at the same time, Russia’s attempt to attack and capture Odesa would bring the war within 50km of Moldova’s borders – likely destabilising Transnistria, a pro-Russian separatist state where 1,500 Russian troops are based.
“The closer it gets, the worse it becomes” pic.twitter.com/FjUS4uYiES
— Henry Foy (@HenryJFoy) March 22, 2022
Moldova’s Foreign Ministry also said Saturday there is “no information to confirm the mobilization of troops in the Transnistrian region” and that “state institutions are closely monitoring the security situation in the region.”
Transnistria is a Russia-backed region of Moldova that broke away after a short civil war in the early 1990s, and is unrecognized by most countries. An estimated 1,500 Russian soldiers are stationed there.