The Russian Defense Ministry has accused Ukraine of planning to invade the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria through a false flag operation. According to the Russian Information Agency Novosti (RIA), the alleged plan involves staging a fake Russian attack from Transnistria as a pretext for Ukraine’s invasion. This comes after President Vladimir Putin revoked a decree that had committed Russia to a deal in Transnistria that would respect Moldova’s territorial integrity.
The Institute for the Study of War states that this move does not necessarily mean Putin intends to attack Moldova, but it does point to an escalation of his efforts to undermine the Moldovan state. Moldovan President Maia Sandu has also said that the country has intelligence suggesting that Russia is plotting a coup to overthrow the Moldovan authorities.
When Russia invaded Ukraine one year ago, it sought to create a land corridor through southern Ukraine to Transnistria. This narrow strip of land between the Dniester River and Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine is not recognized as a sovereign state by the international community. However, almost 2,000 Russian troops have been stationed there since 1992.
Recently, President Putin has revived his imperialist narrative that Russia is fighting for its “historical borders.” This concept has already been used to justify the invasion of Ukraine and could be used to threaten other countries besides Moldova. It is clear that Russia’s actions pose a serious threat to the integrity of Moldova and other neighboring countries.