There are a “number of indicators” pointing to an attack in the near future on the former Soviet state, which has only 3,250 soldiers in its army, Ukrainian intelligence sources suggest.
A certain activity is already being observed in the airport of Tiraspol, the capital of the unrecognized republic of Transnistria. Russians may try to transfer its troops on Il76 planes and helicopters taking off the occupied Crimea. At the same time, protests and riots are to be set up in Moldova’s capital Chisinau.
At the same time, the outlet notes that the information does not go in line with the western intelligence assessments suggesting that Russia has no sufficient capabilities to safely complete this route without risking its planes being downed by Ukrainian air defense in Odesa region. Also, to transfer ammunition and troops, Russia would need to create a land corridor from the temporarily occupied Kherson through part of Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, facing fierce resistance of Ukrainian forces.
It is reported that Russia may try to invade Moldova closer to May 9, when Russia celebrates Victory Day. On this date, President Vladimir Putin may announce recognition of Transnistria’s independence, which would lead to the unfolding of a “Donbas scenario” and pose a direct threat to Moldova’s territorial integrity.
“We believe the Kremlin has already taken the decision to attack Moldova. The fate of Moldova is very crucial. If the Russians start to take control, we will, militarily, be an easier target and the threat to Ukraine will be existential,” said the source.
The Russians will then start to supply large amounts of weapons to the country before moving to try to make it part of Russia, the source suggested.
A successful takeover would lead to Russian troops moving into the Black Sea port of Odesa, in Ukraine, from the west, thus opening up a new Russian front against Ukraine from Moldova.
British defense analysts note that such military operation could serve three goals:
- Pull part of the Ukrainian forces to the south-western flank;
- Undermine the Moldovan government’s pro-European policies; and
- Intimidate the west, suggesting that support for Ukraine may lead to further destabilization in the region, including in the Balkans.
As reported earlier, an “urgent issue” of the Transnistria newspaper had allegedly been printed, dated May 2, where “acts of terror” are covered and an appeal is published, presumably from the population, to President Putin, asking the latter to intervene.
A number of explosions were reported in Transnistria over the past week, including targeting the HQ of the local security agency in Tiraspol and a TV and radio broadcasting center in the village of Maiac.
Also, the Russian intelligence launched a false-flag operation, circulating hoax warnings, allegedly coming from the Ukrainian security forces, of the impending missile and artillery strikes on the region. Local armed forces were put on high alert.
Ukrainian authorities have underlined that Kyiv resolutely condemns any attempts to pull the Transnistrian region of Moldova into the full-scale war Russia is waging against Ukraine and called for an immediate de-escalation.
Ukraine’s defense intelligence stated that the series of explosions in Tiraspol had been staged by the Russian security forces.
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