Moscow is suspended from the World Tourism Organization

[Credit: AP]

What is Transnistria?

The Trans-Dniester stretches some 400 kilometers (249 miles) between the eastern bank of the Dniester in Moldova and the country’s border with Ukraine. Most of the breakaway region’s 470,000 residents speak Russian, although residents identify as ethnically Moldovan, Ukrainian or Russian. The region declared its independence in 1990 and clashes broke out. Fighting intensified in March 1992 and lasted until a ceasefire in July; more than 700 people are estimated to have died in the conflict. As part of the ceasefire agreement, a contingent of Russian troops remained in Trans-Dniester as nominal peacekeepers. Since then, the region has insisted it is not part of Moldova, which declared independence in 1991.

What happened in the Transnistria region this week?

Explosions rocked the headquarters of the region’s State Security Ministry. The building was reportedly empty due to the Orthodox Easter holiday and no casualties were reported. Officials said the attack was carried out with rocket-propelled grenades. Local media showed what appeared to be firing tubes lying in a street. On Tuesday morning, a pair of explosions at a broadcasting facility knocked out two powerful antennas. No claims of responsibility for the attacks have been made. Trans-Dniester chairman Vadim Krasnoselsky on Tuesday called for imposing anti-terrorist security measures at a “red level” for 15 days, including setting up roadblocks at city entrances.

What is the connection between the region of Moldova and the Russian-Ukrainian war?

Russia does not recognize the Trans-Dniester as independent, as it does with other breakaway areas, such as South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Recognition of these areas came either after Russia and Georgia fought a war in 2008 or as justification for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February. An explosion of fighting in the Trans-Dniester could change the political calculus of the Kremlin; Russia’s security policy states that it has the right to protect ethnic Russian populations around the world.

A senior Russian military official, Rustam Minnekayev, said last week that Russian forces were aiming to take full control of southern Ukraine, saying such a move would also open a land corridor between Russia and the Trans-Dniester. . Achieving this military objective would require major battles to capture Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, including the main port city of Odessa. The Russian soldiers would surely encounter enormous resistance.

Source: Associated Press