Moldova separatists report drone strikes near Ukraine border

REUTERS

Moldova separatists
The coat of arms of Transdniestria is depicted on a banner in central Tiraspol, in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestria May 5, 2022. REUTERS/Vladislav Bachev

Pro-Russian separatists in Moldova said on Saturday their region had been hit four times by suspected drones overnight near the Ukrainian border.

Nearly two weeks of similar reported incidents in the Transdniestria breakaway region have raised international alarm that Russia’s war in Ukraine could spread over the frontier. read more

Transdniestria’s interior ministry released photos of craters that it said had been gouged by the strikes overnight.

It said nobody had been hurt in the attacks, which took place in the Rybnitsa district in the north of the region. Russian troops guard a military base with a large Soviet-era ammunition dump in the district on the Ukrainian border.

The ministry’s statement did not say who was suspected of being behind the latest strikes.

Ukraine has repeatedly denied any blame for the incidents in Transdniestria, saying it believes Russia is staging false-flag attacks to provoke war. Moscow, too, has denied blame.

Russia has had a small force of peacekeepers in the separatist region for 30 years, and the reported incidents have raised international concern that they could be drawn into the conflict. Moldova’s pro-Western government says it suspects “pro-war” factions among the separatists themselves. read more

A senior Russian commander said last month that Russia planned to take full control of southern Ukraine, and that this would improve Russian access to Transdniestria. read more

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm the country and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Reporting by Alexander Tanas and Peter Graff Editing by Kevin Liffey and Frances Kerry

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