Putin’s Allies Accused of Plotting Another Russian Land-Grab

Reuters/ Sergei Savostyanov/ Sputnik
Reuters/ Sergei Savostyanov/ Sputnik

An opposition official in Transnistria, the Kremlin-backed breakaway region in Moldova, has warned that the pro-separatist government will be holding an extraordinary session of congress to formally request Russian annexation this week.

“A request should be voiced, on behalf of citizens living on the Left Bank, to Russia, to accept Transnistria into the Russian Federation, and on February 29, Putin will announce this in his address,” Chorba said in a post on social media.

Moldova has long been warning of a Russian destabilization plot that has threatened to upend its existing pro-western government and influence elections. Last year, U.S. and Moldovan officials told The Daily Beast that a “very intense” Russian influence operation intended to undermine the government was underway.

Russia’s Covert Operation for ‘the Next Ukraine’ Has Already Begun

Moldovan president Maia Sandu, who is running for reelection this fall, has also warned of a Russian plot to stage a coup against her administration.

Concerns about Russia and Transnistria potentially unifying coincide with a concerted effort by the Moldovan government to join the European Union. Last year, the European Council announced it was opening negotiations for Moldovan accession.

Moldova declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, but officials believe that Russia has desires to envelope it back into its fold.

Just last week, the European Union imposed sanctions on a paramilitary group and six individuals for allegedly destabilizing Moldova.

“Serious and increasingly intense attempts to destabilize the country are being made again and again,” Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, said in a statement announcing the sanctions this week.

Chorba warned Sandu that Putin and his allies are unlikely to be deterred.

“Mrs. President Sandu, your surroundings frightened you in any way that Russia would strike the territory of Moldova,” he said. “You didn't take into account one thing that the psychology of the current Russian leadership, particularly Putin, is very similar to the psychology of Hitler, in the late 1930s. Attempts to pacify people like Putin lead to only one thing—a growing appetite of the aggressor.”

Russia Drops Ominous Warning About Attack on Second Country

Officials in neighboring Ukraine have voiced doubt about whether Transnistria will follow through with an annexation request.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday he is not convinced they will move forward. “I am not sure that the Transnistrians—or whoever is present at the congress—will take this step next week. I am not sure based on the information I have,” he said, adding that Ukraine has not received any requests from Moldova to supply military aid.

At any rate, Ukraine has made its position on Transnistria clear. Senior Ukrainian diplomat Paun Rohovei met with Moldovan officials to discuss the threat last week, after which the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a statement vowing to “resolutely” respond to such provocation.

“Ukraine stands solely for the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian issue with the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognized borders,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said. “At the same time, Kyiv will resolutely respond to any provocations aimed both at dragging the Transnistrian region into Russia's war against Ukraine and at destabilizing the situation in Moldova as a whole.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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