The breakaway region of Transnistria has ordered the mobilization of all adult males following several reports of explosions – amid fears that the war in Ukraine is starting to spread beyond its borders.

Moldova’s Breakaway Transnistria Orders General Mobilisation

Soldiers of the unrecognised statelet take part in an Independence Day parade in Tiraspol, September 2, 2013. Photo: EPA/Stringer

The Defence Ministry of the breakaway region of Transnistria in Moldova has ordered the mobilisation of all men between 18 and 55, “at a special meeting to replenish the peacekeeping contingent,” a statement issued to the heads of local administrations in Transnistria said.

The main reason for the mobilisation order, as published by Ukrainskaya Pravda, is described as “ensuring 100-per-cent staffing of the personnel of the peacekeeping contingent of the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic”.

The Tiraspol authorities did not yet confirm the order. It apparently dates from April 21, before a series of explosions at strategic targets in Transnistria took place.

On Thursday, Ukraine said Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine had intensified and also warned of movements by Russian and pro-Russian forces in Transnistria, which lies on Ukraine’s border with Moldova.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that Russia was trying to destabilise to the Transnistrian region, but Ukraine was prepared for such a possible Russian offensive.

“We clearly understand that this is one of the Russian steps [in Transnistria]. That’s where the special services work. It’s not just fake news. The goal is obvious, destabilising the region’s situation and threatening Moldova,” Zelensky said.

The mobilisation ordered by Tiraspol comes after several explosions took place in recent days at several targets.

On Monday, an explosion was reported at the building of the Transnistrian secret service, MGB, by a grenade launcher. The blasts came on the same day that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told Moscow that Russia saw no “risks of escalating the situation” in Transnistria.

The separatist regime in Tiraspol has blamed Ukraine for the attacks. But in a press release, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry said Monday’s explosion at the headquarters of the Transnistrian MGB was a false-flag operation done by the Russian secret service, the FSB.

The “Mayak” radio transmitter in Grigoriopol was reportedly blown up on Tuesday. On Wednesday, gunshots were fired around the Cobasna old Soviet ammo depot, which is a few kilometres from the Ukrainian border. This strategic objective has housed about 20,000 tons of old ammunition since the Soviet Union period, and poses a great danger to the region.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu convened an emergency meeting of the Supreme Security Council on Tuesday regarding the explosions in Transnistria.

Russia maintains about 1,600 troops in Transnistria. These are divided into peacekeeping troops and the Operative Group of Russian Troops, OGRT. In practice, they are the same forces, and the soldiers rotate periodically from the peacekeeping mission to guarding the Cobasna ammunition depot.

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