Map of Moldova showing the zones of the frozen military conflict with Russia in Transnistria/Transdniestria and a resolved conflict in Gagauzia.
Moldovan Defense Minister Eugen Sturza says that Russian forces, without identifying markers, have carried out massive maneuvers involving “the forcing of the Dniestr River, a move that disqualifies Moscow as a peacekeeper in his country and that disturbingly recalls its use of such “little green men” in Ukraine.
On Facebook, Sturza says that
“this kind of exercise in the Security Zone with armed equipment without numbers is a provocation which undermines the basis of the Russian side as a peacekeeping mission. It is extremely difficult to explain how [such moves] by little green men are about peacekeeping.”
The OSCE mission in Moldova has also expressed concern about these exercises, especially because the Russian side refused to allow OSCE monitors to visit the Transdniestrian region where these maneuvers have been taking place over the last three days.
August, of course, is a prime time for military exercises; but these are especially disturbing because of their echoes with the way Moscow moved against Ukraine in 2014 and because of the media campaign that Russian outlets have launched against Chisinau in recent days, a media campaign that also resembles that used four years ago.
Three narratives are especially frightening in this regard:
- First, Moscow outlets continue to insist that Moldovans are preparing to carry out “a Euro-Maidan” and that activists for that are being trained in Romania.
- Second, the Moldovan government has announced that it plans to leave the CIS energy grid, another step to detach itself from that Moscow-dominated institution, a move Russia views not only as an unfriendly act but a threat to Russian security.
- And third, Moscow media are suggesting that the United States now wants to oust the pro-Russian Moldovan president so that the pro-Western Moldovan government can take over and integrate Moldova with the West.
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