Moldova has expressed deep concern over remarks by a Russian commander seeking to annex mainland Russia to the separatist-controlled Transnistria region. The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador and expressed concern. News from BBC and Reuters.
A statement on the Moldovan Foreign Ministry’s website said the commander’s statement was baseless and contradicted the position taken by the Russian Federation in supporting Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Moldova has been reiterated in a neutral state meeting,” it said. This principle must be respected by all states and international organizations, including the Russian Federation.
Rustam Minekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, said in a meeting on Friday that annexing the southern part of eastern Ukraine would establish contacts with the Russian-backed separatist region of Transnistria in Moldova.
Al-Jazeera reports, quoting Rustam Minekayev, that the capture of Ukraine’s Danbas would make it possible to build a bridge between Crimea and the east. And if the south comes under control, the way of communication with Transnistria will be easier. It will also pave the way for Russian-backed support.
Minekayev said the Russian-speaking people in Transnistria were being persecuted. There are 1,500 Russian troops on the Transnistria-Ukraine border.
Meanwhile, referring to the Russian commander’s remarks, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky said that the remarks “indicate that Russia will invade more countries.” The attack on Ukraine is just the beginning.
Transnistria is a small territory occupied by pro-Russian separatists, bordering Ukraine to the east of Moldova. The region lies within 40 kilometers of the Black Sea port of Odessa in Ukraine.
In early April, Ukrainian officials said an air base in the Transnistria region was being prepared for takeoff. From here Ukraine could be attacked. Moldova’s defense ministry and Transnistrian authorities have denied the allegations.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. In addition to air and missile strikes, Russian forces launched ground operations from three directions. However, in the face of resistance from Ukrainian forces, Russia has stepped up its offensive in the east and south, withdrawing troops from the vicinity of the capital Kiev and from the north.