Transnistria Reportedly Prepares Request for Annexation by Russia

What to Know:

The government of Transnistria, an unrecognized breakaway state from Moldova, has called for a “congress of members of the parliament of all levels” to be held on February 28 and while the exact details of the meeting remain unconfirmed, some Transnistrian officials have signaled that a request for integration will be made to Russia. The congress will also coincide with a speech set to be made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Russian Parliament the next day.

What we Know:

On February 21, the Transnistrian Parliament announced that a “congress of members of the parliament of all levels” would be held the following week. The exact details of the congress or what it aims to achieve was not officially announced, however, some Transnistrian officials have signaled that a request for integration will be made to Russia amid economic frustrations with Moldova.

While speaking with the Transnistrian television channel TSV, MP Vadim Kravchuk said that “Transnistria expressed its desire to unite with Russia and the Eurasian Union back in 2006. The congress of the MPs of all levels will most likely confirm our intentions.”

In a post made to Facebook, Transnistrian oppositional leader Gennadiy Chorba stated that “Most likely, based on the analysis of the situation, a command was issued from Moscow to hold this congress, at which a request should be voiced, on behalf of citizens living on the Left Bank of Russia, to accept Transnistria into the Russian Federation, and on February 29, Putin will announce this in his appeal, and the Federal Assembly, in an expedited manner, will decide to satisfy the request.”

The Lead Up:

The idea of Transnistria integrating with Russia, which is strongly opposed by Moldova, has been around for decades, but has gained traction since the outbreak of the Donbas War and the annexation of Crimea in 2014 by Transnistria’s ethnic Russian population.

Since the Transnistria War, which established the breakaway state in 1992, Russian forces have remained in the region as a peacekeeping force, called the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Transnistria, which currently consists of some 1,500 troops. One of their primary missions is to guard the Cobasna ammunition depot, which stores some 20,000 tons of Soviet-era weaponry. Moldova continues to call for the withdrawal of Russian forces from the region, which it considers illegitimate and illegal.

In April 2022, Russian military officials suggested creating a land bridge to Transnistria as part of their tactical objectives for the war. At the time, Deputy Commander of Russia’s Central Military District, General Rustam Minnekayev, announced that the invasion had entered a new “phase two,” in which the key tactical objects of military operations in Ukraine would be to secure the entirety of the Donbas region and push to capture the southern oblasts of Nikolaev and Odessa. Included in this plan is opening up direct access to Transnistria, in which Minnekayev stated “control over the south of Ukraine is another exit into Transnistria, where there are also facts pointing to the oppression of the Russian-speaking population.”

The plan was abandoned that Fall following Ukrainian counter attacks that pushed Russian forces out of Kherson and over the Dnipro River.

In July 2022, Transnistrian Foreign Minister Vitaly Ignatyev stated that the region would pursue complete independence and potentially seek accession into Russia after Moldova had received EU candidate status, arguing the move was “made solely by the Moldovan leadership, it was not taken collectively. Moreover, no one can speak for us.”

In response, Dmitry Belik, member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, stated that “Pridnestrovie (Transnistria) is that enclave of Moldova that does not want to be with Romania and at the same time gladly hosted the Russian peacekeeping contingent. Therefore, the proposal of Pridnestrovie to join Russia is not some kind of boundless and distant future, rather, it is a direction in the near future. And because Russian-speaking people who are close to us live there, we must consider this proposal seriously.

This followed a string of sabotage attacks targeting government and communication infrastructure, as well as the region’s airport. While Russia blamed Ukraine for the attacks, Ukraine and its western allies believed the attacks were false flags to justify increased Russian military presence in the region, however this did not happen.

By February 2023, Putin revoked a 2012 decree that recognizes Moldova’s sovereignty in regard to Transnistria.

The decree, which affirmed Russia’s commitment to “find a solution to the Transnistrian conflict that would respect the territorial integrity and neutrality of the Republic of Moldova in setting up a special status for Transnistria,” was annulled “In order to ensure the national interests of the Russian Federation in connection with the profound changes taking place in international relations.”

The announcement came as the Moldovan government accused Russia of planning a coup to overthrow the government and stop the country from joining the European Union. Moldovan President Maia Sandu claimed that “authorities are aware of plans for destabilization in Moldova for the near future… actions are planned involving military-trained saboteurs who will attack state buildings by taking hostages,” further backing assertions made by Ukraine. Likewise, Moldova also accused Russia of planning to capture the airport in Chisinau to ferry troops for a new frontline from Transnistria. As expected, Russia denied the claims.

Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.


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