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Moldova denies Russian claim of planned provocation against Transnistria, urges calm
Moldovan authorities denied the claim made by the Russian Defense Ministry on Feb. 23 that Ukraine is planning a provocation against Transnistria, a breakaway region internationally recognized as part of Moldova that has been under heavy Russian influence since 1990.
Russian-controlled Transnistria region hosts 1,500 Russian troops and a large Soviet-era arms depot.
"We are urging people to stay calm and obtain information from official and verified sources within the Republic of Moldova," the statement added.
The Russian Defense Ministry alleged that the provocation would involve units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces disguised as Russian soldiers, specifically the Azov battalion.
On Feb. 21, Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Rechan confirmed in an interview to Moldova's TV8 that authorities were aware "several" Russian destabilization scenarios, including Russia's plan to take control of the Chisinau airport in the Moldovan capital.
This came after President Zelensky said that Ukrainian intelligence had intercepted a Russian plan to destabilize the political situation and seize power in Moldova.
"We have strengthened our capabilities and are prepared for various scenarios aimed at the security of the Republic of Moldova," Rechan said, adding that "Moldova opts for a peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and we must align our goals in terms of security, peace and stability in the region."