Ukrainian crisis may spill over to Moldova and Transnistria

The likelihood for the Transnistrian conflict to spark again has increased against the background of Ukraine's failures on the battlefield.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu came to Kyiv on the tenth anniversary of bloody Maidan riots in the Ukrainian capital.

Ukrainian Telegram channel Legitimny said that the purpose of her visit was to sound out opportunities for preparing a provocation in Transnistria. Sandu wanted to discuss the economic blockade of the unrecognised Transnistrian Moldavian Republic (TMR), as well as issues related to the training of the army of Moldova.

Another Ukrainian Telegram channel, Resident, said with reference to a source in Zelensky's office that the President of Moldova was against military scenarios even though the two politicians were discussing the TMR issue for quite a while.

"Resolving the issue with Transnistria will up the stakes in the Ukrainian conflict and force the enemy to take active action,” the channel said.

UK wants Ukrainian troops in Transnistria

According to the Insider Moldova channel, Sandu's trip to Ukraine was connected with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron's visit to Kyiv on November 16. After Ukraine, Cameron went to Chisinau in Moldova. Afterwards, British intelligence services activated their work on possible scenarios in the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic.

"Cameron came to find out what Sandu's plans were and whether she was ready, if necessary, to "go to Transnistria,” since Moldova already has enough weapons and ammunition,” Insider Moldova said.

According to the channel, the parties supposedly discuss how exactly the Ukrainian military could be deployed in Moldova. At the moment, 80 percent of Moldovan citizens oppose a military scenario in the TMR. In addition, Sandu's party has recently lost local elections, which made the Transnistrian issue even more complicated in terms of its resolution.

Sandu-Zelensky plans have one big problem

Events started developing faster after the grain deal was closed, the Ukrainian counteroffensive failed and plans were outlined for the Russian Armed Forces to strike Odessa to access the TMR. The Ukrainian leadership is interested in opening a second front in order to take the Russian military base out of Transnistria and take possession of weapons warehouses in Kolbasna.

One of the options for provocation is a move that the Armed Forces of Ukraine could make in response to the alleged offensive of the Russian troops from the territory of Transnistria. Saboteurs will wear Russian military uniforms for the purpose. Ukraine pulled its troops to the border with Transnistria in the spring of 2023.

Another option is to solve the issue of "separtatism”. Moldovan and American military personnel practiced landing exercises and currently study opportunities for the blockade of Transnistria. New amendments to the criminal code on "separatism” let the Moldovan authorities identify almost every resident of the left bank of the Dniester River as a separatist.

The worse the situation gets for Ukraine at the front, the sooner the Transnistrian crisis may spark again. Yet, there is one very big problem for Chisinau and Kyiv. The Russian troops stationed in the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic will not surrender. They will fight back.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov