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Russian Foreign Ministry: Attack on Transnistria would be an 'attack' on Russia
The Russian Foreign Ministry threatened on Feb. 24 that an attack on Transnistria would be "an attack on the Russian Federation."
Transnistria, a breakaway region that is internationally recognized as part of Moldova, has been occupied by Russia since 1992.
Russian propagandists have claimed that Ukraine, Moldova or NATO are preparing an attack on Transnistria. There is speculation that this is a facade for a Russian plan to invade or destabilize Moldova.
"No one should have any doubts that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will respond adequately if it does happen, and will provide protection for our compatriots," the ministry threatened.
On Feb. 23, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine was planning a provocation against Transnistria. The Russian Defense Ministry alleged that the provocation would involve units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces disguised as Russian soldiers, specifically the Azov battalion.
However, Moldovan authorities quickly denied this claim.
"We are urging people to stay calm and obtain information from official and verified sources within the Republic of Moldova," the statement said.
Russian-controlled Transnistria region hosts 1,500 Russian troops and a large Soviet-era arms depot.
On Feb. 21, Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Rechan confirmed in an interview to Moldova's TV8 that authorities were aware of "several" Russian destabilization scenarios, including Russia's plan to take control of the Chisinau airport in the Moldovan capital.
"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."
On Feb. 9, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukrainian intelligence had intercepted a Russian plan to destabilize the political situation and seize power in Moldova.