Transnistrian separatists demand protection from Russia

Officials of the Russian-backed Moldovan separatist region of Transnistria asked Moscow on Wednesday February 28 to protect them from what they described as economic pressure from the Moldovan government.

This image available on the official Telegram channel of the Supreme Council of the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic shows Alexander Korshunov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic, addressing delegates during a session in Tiraspol, the region's capital separatist from Transnistria, in Moldova, Wednesday February 28, 2024. AP

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MPs from this territory, a pro-Russian breakaway region of


, met in Tiraspol in an extraordinary congress, the first since 2006, and adopted a declaration.

In this text, cited by Russian press agencies, the Russian Parliament is called upon to “ 

implement measures to protect Transnistria 

”, where “ 

more than 220,000 Russian citizens

 ” live, in the face of “

 increased pressure from the leaves Moldova 


Transnistria is facing “ 

unprecedented threats of an economic, socio-humanitarian and military-political nature 

”, it is added in this declaration, without details on the desired aid.

This announcement from Moldovan pro-Russian separatists is anything but a surprise.

This request is reminiscent of the similar one made by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, in February 2022, which was one of the pretexts put forward by Vladimir Putin to launch a large-scale attack against Ukraine. .

At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the leaders of South-Eastern European countries, gathered in Albania

for a summit

, to provide increased support to his country, lacking ammunition, in the face of Russia which is nibbling ground on the front.

Accusations of “genocide”

Separatist authorities said Wednesday's congress, attended by 620 MPs, was a reaction to Chisinau's recent introduction of customs duties on imports from Transnistria.

In his speech, local president Vadim Krasnosselski, quoted by the media, assured that this territory was undergoing “ 

a policy of genocide

 ”, via economic, “ 


 ”, legal and linguistic pressures.

In this resolution, MEPs also address the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Parliament, the Red Cross and finally the UN General Secretariat, urging them to prevent “ 


 ” which could lead to “ 

an escalation of tensions 


The Moldovan government for its part declared earlier Wednesday that " 

things seemed calm 

", affirming that " 

there is no risk of escalation

 " despite this " 

new campaign aimed at creating hysteria within society


Moldova for its part denounced on Wednesday the comments of the authorities of the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria.

The government “

 rejects the propaganda coming from Tiraspol

 ,” Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Serebrian said on Telegram, saying the region benefits from “ 

policies of peace, security and economic integration

 ” as part of its ties with the 'European Union.

Read alsoMoldova: on the border with Transnistria, concern is growing

Fear of a widening of the conflict to Transnistria

The Polish Prime Minister, who says he is not surprised, was quick to react.

For Donald Tusk, “ 

this shows how dangerous the situation is, and not only for Ukraine 


The choice of the date of this official declaration could also not be trivial knowing that this Thursday, the Russian president will deliver his traditional annual speech to the nation.

Vladimir Putin could take the opportunity to announce the sending of Russian troops to this region on the borders of Europe.

Chisinau and the European Union regularly criticize Russia for seeking to destabilize Moldova, formerly in its zone of influence, but whose authorities are now resolutely oriented towards Europe.

In December 2023, the European Union decided to open accession negotiations with both Ukraine and Moldova.

Since the start of the Russian assault in Ukraine two years ago, fears of a widening of the conflict to Transnistria

have surfaced several times


Conjectures regularly resurface about a possible Russian attack from Transnistria towards the large Ukrainian port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea.

Last year, the authorities of this self-proclaimed state notably accused kyiv of wanting to attack it after claiming to have foiled an attack in March that targeted its leaders.

The Russian Defense Ministry again assured last week, without presenting evidence, that Ukraine was preparing an “

 armed provocation

 ” against Transnistria. 




What is Transnistria?

If on August 27, 1991, the Republic of Moldova proclaimed its independence after the dislocation of the Soviet Union, this small country in Eastern Europe would very quickly be amputated from part of its territory, since four months later, the Republic Dniester Moldavia secedes.

With a population today of just over 500,000 inhabitants, made up mainly of predominantly Russian-speaking Eastern Slavs, this region located on the other side of the Dnieper River will very quickly function in complete independence, despite the fact that Transnistria is not recognized by any state in the world.

This territory concentrates a large part of Moldovan industry and has been led since its secession by pro-Russian leaders who refuse any rapprochement with the European Union.

In 2014, after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, 96% of voters voted in favor of this annexation during a referendum, proof that pro-Russian sentiment is dominant there.

Furthermore: since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, numerous incidents have occurred in this region, raising fears of intervention from Moscow.

This is what many leaders in Eastern and Eastern Europe feared, who constantly repeated that the situation there was very dangerous.


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