Transnistry, an flammable flammable enclave

The tension rises in this adjoining territory of Ukraine which seceded Moldova in the early 1990s. Russia has a force of 1,500 men and local relays likely to help it take Control of the region of Odessa.


Already closed since the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the PERMOVAYSK border post took the look of a entrenched camp. On May 3, a wall of concrete blocks followed by a second line of sandbags, condemned any passage on the deck leading to Ukrainian territory from the transnistria.

The prorussian enclave nourishes the fears of kyiv and its Western allies on the opening of a new front which would allow Russian forces to take control of all south of Ukraine on an arc going from east in the west. Speaking on Tuesday May 10 in Washington in front of the Senate, the American intelligence head, April Haines estimated that Vladimir Putin, remains “determined to wage war beyond the Donbass, to the transnistria”.

So far, this narrow strip of land, with an area comparable to that of the Department of Pyrénées-Orientales, no longer paid attention. Born of a violent split with Moldova, of which it amputated 10 % of the territory, on the left bank of the Dniestr, after a fratricidal war – from 1990 to 1992 – which left several hundred dead and more 100,000 displaced, the Transnistria had ended up entering the category of so-called “frozen” post-Soviet conflicts. Which was suddenly warmed up.

Its proximity to Odessa, the big Ukrainian port city of the Black Sea, makes it a strategic issue for the Kremlin which already has, on site, a contingent of 1,500 soldiers. Heir to the 14 Soviet army, he is part of the operational group of the Russian forces in Transnistria (Gotrt) attached to the southern command which also controls the Donbass and the Crimea – in addition to the Caucasus. A permanent presence, established at the end of the war between Moldovan enemy brothers. The independent self -proclaimed separatist enclave is not recognized by any foreign capital, not even by Moscow. No need: for thirty years, transnistry has been a Russian protectorate.

The pressure rises

In March 2006, a referendum organized in the enclave around two questions, for independence or attachment to Russia – reunification with Moldova was not even envisaged – concluded with a score ” crushing “97.1 % in favor of the second option, without nothing happening. Eight years later, in March 2014, in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the government of Transnistria declared that he wanted to join the Russian Federation. Without any other consequence than this declaration of allegiance. What is the point of adding?

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/Media reports.