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Events in Transnistria: ISW predicts options for Kremlin action

Events in Transnistria: ISW predicts options for Kremlin action

Photo: Sotsmerezhi (pictured)

The Kremlin may increase diplomatic pressure on Moldova. The Russian Federation may also try to provide additional military assistance to the Transnistrian forces.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggests several possible options for action by the Russian authorities in response to calls from “representatives” of unrecognized Transnistria for help. All of them, in one way or another, are connected to the destabilization of the situation in Moldova.

It was noted that the Kremlin could take possible escalatory actions against Moldova both immediately and in the long term.

The ISW report recalls that the Kremlin used the idea of ​​protecting “compatriots abroad” to justify the fact that Russian troops have occupied Transnistria since 1992, and that Transnistrian officials are likely to call on Transnistrian residents with Russian citizenship to create additional information conditions for the increase of Russian activity in Transnistria and Moldova.

As experts note, Kremlin officials and spokespeople continue to create informational conditions for using Transnistria and the pro-Russian Moldovan autonomous region of Gagauzia to destabilize Moldova, but not yet indicated how and for what specific purpose they intend to use the information conditions. .

The Kremlin has not yet signaled any immediate path to escalation after the congress of Transnistrian deputies, although Russian dictator Vladimir Putin may address Transnistria’s demands in his speech to the Russian Federal Assembly on February 29.

As the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on February 28 in response to an appeal from the Transnistrian congress of “deputies,” protecting the interests of Transnistria residents and Russian “compatriots” is one of Russia’s priorities. They promised to “carefully consider” Transnistria’s demands.

ISW believes that the most likely course of action is that the Kremlin will use the congress as a springboard to intensify hybrid operations aimed at destabilizing and subsequently polarizing Moldova ahead of Moldova’s accession negotiations to the European Union and in the upcoming presidential elections in Moldova in June and November 2024 respectively.

The most dangerous scenario is that the Kremlin may decide to formally annex Transnistria in the future to justify military intervention against Moldova in the long term.

The institute suggests the following options for action by the Russian authorities:

The Kremlin may increase diplomatic pressure on Moldova to repeal the recently adopted Customs Code, which came into effect on January 1, 2024. The changes introduced by Moldova to the Customs Code are essential to align Moldova with EU standards on track of the country towards EU membership.

The Kremlin may also try to provide additional military aid to Transnistrian forces in the future, although it is unclear how it hopes to deliver military equipment or personnel to Transnistria.

Experts point out the incomprehensibility of the transfer of Russian forces, because they have to be brought into the airspace of Ukraine or Romania (NATO). Or try to conduct a large-scale ground operation through the Odessa region, which Russian troops are unlikely to do because it would distract personnel from their ongoing offensive operations in eastern Ukraine and would likely fail.

We remind you that in unrecognized Transnistria a congress of “representatives of all levels” took place, which has not been held for 18 years. The authorities of the “PMR” officially turned to Russia “for help.” The reason for the appeal was called the “economic blockade of Moldova.”

Ukrainian military intelligence said Transnistria’s unrecognized request to Russia for “protection” from Moldova was not the outcome the Kremlin had hoped for.

The Moldovan government noted that they do not expect any increase after the congress of Pridnestrovian “deputies.”

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Source: korrespondent

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