Moldova is expressing “deep agitation” over statements by a Russian general to occupy all of southern Ukraine and build a land bridge to the separatist republic of Transnistria in eastern Moldova.
When Russian deputy commander Rustam Minnikaev said on Friday that Russia would try to take control of all of southern Ukraine, he added that it would create “another route to Transnistria, where there is also evidence that the population Russian-speaking is oppressed”.
These statements are causing concern in Moldova, neighboring Ukraine, said Karen-Anna Egin, a researcher at the Ministry of Defense Studies (IFS).
Transnistria is a breakaway republic from Moldova, backed by Russia for more than 30 years.
Russia has used Transnistria politically to block Moldova’s approach to the West, according to senior researcher Jacob M. Godzimirski of the Norwegian Institute of Foreign Policy. (beginners).
The ambassador shouted on the carpet
Moldova summoned the Russian ambassador to the country on Friday to express its “deep concern” at the Russian general’s remarks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also took the opportunity to warn that the invasion of Ukraine “was only the beginning” and that other countries could take their turn.
The researchers all confirmed that VG said an invasion of Moldova is not likely in the near future. They note, among other things, that the statement comes from a general rather than a political point of view, and that it is an open question to what extent Russia will succeed militarily in Ukraine in the future.
It’s one thing to say something, it’s another to do it, says Godzimirsky.
In the event that Russia continues to control all of southern Ukraine, this could be linked to several strategic objectives:
- Land bridge to Transnistria.
- A stifling grip on Ukraine’s economy, which includes much of the industries and major trade routes of the south.
- Control of large natural resources (mainly gas) in the sea between Crimea and Odessa
Spawn in IFS already seen in early March it Russia can create a land corridor Throughout southern Ukraine. Thus, the Russians were able to prevent Ukraine from reaching its important coast.
Godzimirski also refers to this goal.
Energy resources are a potential bonus, but not a primary target. It quickly turns to resources they can’t find markets for, so I don’t think that’s the main reason, he says.
Many Moldovan residents fear they may be Russia’s next target. Read the country’s AG report:
Are they Putin’s next target?
With a pro-Russian breakaway republic nearby, Ressa thinks Moldova will suffer the same fate as Ukraine: – In Putin’s mind, all people are cartoon characters he can do whatever he wants with wants, said Ressa.
Eigen believes that the new signals from the Russian military should be taken seriously.
– This statement is of course disturbing for Moldova, and it clearly means something that it is not protected by Article V (in NATO Treaty Journal.anm.) and parts of its territory are occupied by Russian-backed separatists, Eggen wrote in an email to VG.
– What is the cause of concern that Russia is attacking Transnistria in Moldova with the aim of occupying it?
Russia already controls large parts of southern Ukraine, from Kherson to Donbass. In other words, Eigen responds that this should cause concern when combined with statements in which Russian speakers are discriminated against.
She points out that Russia also did not show much respect for the sovereignty of neighboring countries if it believed that the land historically and culturally belonged to Russia.
Russia has deployed troops in Transnistria since a ceasefire came into effect in 1992.
The breakaway republic is entirely dependent on Russia economically and militarily.
The 1990s conflict bore several similarities to the conflict in the Donbass region, where fighting since 2014 predated the current full-scale war in Ukraine.
Transnistria, for example, had a larger share of Russians and Ukrainians than the rest of Moldova, and there was political disagreement over the consequences of rolling back many Soviet reforms, as well as moving the country towards Romania in the West.
Russia has used these “realistic” countries very actively in its policies. Godzimirsky said Russia announced it would expand its forces as early as 1999, but more were built.
One of the main reasons why a possible invasion of Transnistria is not imminent is the lack of military power in Russia.
At present, there is little evidence that Russian occupation of parts of Moldova is realistic. It is clear that the Russian army was tired of trying to secure victories and control the Donbass region, and they were pushed back despite having previously tried to capture Mikolajev, reports IFS’ Eigen
Egin considers that a Russian attack on the cities of Mykolaiv and Odessa at this stage of the war would be “inappropriate”.
– They don’t seem to have the capacity. The researcher adds that the latter is the result of heavy losses and lack of forces.
Chief of Research Turmod Heyer of the Armed Forces Staff College agrees with Eigen’s view.
– I don’t think they will succeed. Haier told VG on Friday that the Russians lack the traditional ability to expand their ambitions.