False flag attacks raise concerns for Moldova

False flag attacks raise concerns for Moldova

Possible false flag attacks in the Russian-backed separatist Moldovan territory of Transnistria this week have raised concerns of a new front opening in the conflict.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said the attacks reminded him of similar attacks at the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of destabilising the separatist region.

He said that the Kremlin would try to threaten Moldova if it showed support for Ukraine.

His comments came after concerns from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry about the tensions in the Moscow-backed region.

The explosions rocked Transnistria earlier on Tuesday, which police said knocked out two powerful radio antennas and other facilities in the region, close to the Ukrainian border.

On Monday, several explosions were reported to have hit the Ministry of State Security in Tiraspol, the region's capital.

The attacks follow a Russian officer's statement about Moscow's intention to fully take control of Ukraine's south, as well as its east, so as to open a land corridor to Transnistria to the west.

Ukraine blamed Russia for all of the attacks, but no-one claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Latvian Foreign Minister said that he was very worried by the explosions on Tuesday and reminded him of what happened in the Donbas region at the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Before February 21, there were some series of false flag operations in the Donbas region, so-called people republics, used by Russia as a pretext to recognise and then sign the so-called friendship and assistance treaties, and then start the military operation, Mr Rinkevics told reporters in Madrid.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Ukraine resolutely supports Moldova's territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and condemns attempts to draw the Transnistria region of Moldova into the full-fledged war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine and call for de-escalating tensions. About 470,000 -- 30 per cent of whom are ethnically Russian - nominally seceded from Moldova in 1990, one year before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

They feared that Moldova might merge with Romania, whose language and culture it shares broadly.

The separatist region declared itself an independent state, though it still remains unrecognised by Russia, which has about 1,500 troops in its territory, calling them peacekeepers after a brief war with Moldova in 1992.

There are concerns that the forces could be used to invade Ukraine from the west.

Mr Zelenskyy said that the forces were waiting for an order, but added that Ukrainian soldiers were prepared for them and are not afraid of them. UN Secretary-General Ant nio Guterres said on Tuesday that he was concerned about reports of new security incidents in the region and urged people not to make any statements that could escalate tensions. UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said on Tuesday that Mr Guterres called for efforts to lower tensions throughout Transnistria.

Mr Haq said that the UN continues to support the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to reach a political settlement to the Transnistria conflict.

The goal is to strengthen Moldova's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity with special status for Transnistria.