Moldova's President Says Transdniester Attacks Are An Attempt To Escalate Tensions
By RFE/RL's Moldovan Service April 26, 2022
President Maia Sandu said on April 26 that several alleged attacks in Moldova's Moscow-backed breakaway region of Transdniester were an attempt to escalate tensions, blaming "pro-war factions" within the territory's administration.
Sandu spoke to the media after a meeting of Moldova's Supreme Security Council following claims by authorities in Transdniester that two radio relays were damaged by blasts and a military unit was targeted on April 26 amid rising tensions in the region, which borders conflict-wracked Ukraine.
Sandu urged citizens to remain calm and said she had ordered heightened security measures, including patrols and vehicle checks in Transdniester.
"We condemn any challenges and attempts to lure the Republic of Moldova into actions that could jeopardize peace in the country," Sandu said. "Chisinau continues to insist on a peaceful settlement of the Transdniester conflict."
Earlier, the breakaway region's self-styled Interior Ministry said the two radio relays were damaged by blasts.
"In the early morning of April 26, two explosions occurred in the village of Maiak, Grigoriopol district: the first at 6:40 and the second at 7:05", the ministry said. It said that two radio antennas were knocked out following the blasts.
No one was injured, it said.
The information could not be independently verified, and there has been no claim of responsibility or reports of casualties.
Separately, Transdniester's Security Council reported a "terrorist attack" on a military unit near the city of Tiraspol, without elaborating. It also said it had raised the "terrorist threat level" to red, established checkpoints, and canceled the May 9 military parade.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on April 26 that news from the region was a cause for serious concern.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States was looking at the cause of the attacks but so far is not sure what is behind them.
The U.S. is "still analyzing the cause of blasts in Moldova," Austin said on April 26 during a news conference at Ramstein Air Base in Germany after his visit to Ukraine. "It's something that we will stay focused on."
The two alleged incidents came a day after Transdniester's Ministry of State Security said its building in Tiraspol, the region's largest city, was allegedly hit by explosions that damaged the upper floors of its building.
The Moldovan government said it believes that the April 25 incident "is related to the creation of pretexts for the tension in the security situation in the Transdniester region, which is not controlled by the constitutional authorities."
Ukraine's Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said the alleged attack was a provocation organized by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).
The ministry's Intelligence Directorate in a statement said the incident was "one of a number of provocative measures organized by the FSB to instill panic and anti-Ukrainian sentiment."
Transdniester, a sliver of land between Moldova proper and Ukraine, declared independence in 1990.
In 1992, Moldova and Transdniester fought a short war that was quelled by Russian forces that intervened on the side of the separatists. Some 1,000 people were killed in that conflict.
Russia maintains some 1,400 troops in Transdniester and has control over huge Soviet-era arms depots located in the region.
On April 22, the acting commander of Russia's Central Military District, Rustam Minnekayev, said that Russian forces aimed to take full control of southern Ukraine, saying such a move would also open a land corridor to Transdniester.
With reporting by Reuters and AP
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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