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Drone attack destroyed Russian helicopter in Moldova’s Transnistria (photos, video)

Initial reports indicate a drone attack targeted a Russian military unit in Transnistria, Moldova, resulting in the destruction of a Russian Mi-8 helicopter.
Wreckage of a Russian Mi-8 helicopter in Moldova’s Transnistria, allegedly destroyed in a drone attack on 17 March 2024. Photo: Pervy Pridnestrovsky
Drone attack destroyed Russian helicopter in Moldova’s Transnistria (photos, video)

Moldova’s Russian-run Transnistria has reported a drone attack on one of its military units located in the regional capital city of Tiraspol. According to initial reports, the attack resulted in a fire breaking out within the military facility, causing significant damage to a Russian-made Mi-8 military helicopter, while photos show it completely destroyed.

The regions of Gagauzia and Transnistria in Moldova are often seen as potential Russian “Trojan horses” due to their pro-Russian sentiments and Moscow’s influence. Gagauzia is an autonomous republic, while Transnistria is an unrecognized self-proclaimed state with Russian troops deployed on its territory. Moldova has repeatedly requested the withdrawal of these troops, most recently in 2021. As of 2006, up to 1,500 Russian troops were stationed in Transnistria, including peacekeeping and security battalions, a helicopter detachment, and administrative units.

The incident was first reported by the Transnistrian “state-run” TV channel “Pervy Pridnestrovsky,” which disseminated photographs from the scene:

“It is preliminarily determined that the explosion was the result of a kamikaze drone attack, which was recorded flying from the Clover Bridge. There were no casualties. Law enforcement agencies are working. A criminal case has been opened,” the TV channel wrote on its Telegram channel.

Russia’s media outlet RIA Novosti, citing the so-called Ministry of State Security of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (PMR), reported the same as the Pervyi Pridnestrovsky – that a military unit in Transnistria was attacked by a kamikaze drone, there was an explosion and fire, with no casualties.

Later a CCTV video emerged on multiple Telegram channels, allegedly showing the attack:

Earlier, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) warned that Russia could intensify hybrid operations to destabilize Moldova.

Update:

Moldova: no confirmation of an attack on Transnistrian region

Following the incident, Moldova’s Reintegration Bureau commented on reports of a drone explosion in a military unit in Tiraspol., saying that it did not confirm the attack, calling it “an attempt to provoke fear and panic in the region,” according to NewsMaker.

The bureau also noted that it had contacted other agencies and studied photos and videos from the scene of the incident in Tiraspol.

“After studying the videos and exchanging information, we report that this incident is an attempt to provoke fear and panic in the region. The military equipment shown in the footage has not been in operation for several years,” Moldova’s Reintegration Bureau said.

The Bureau noted that the Moldovan authorities in contact with the Ukrainian side do not confirm any attack on the Transnistrian region.

Ukraine: it’s a Russian provocation

A representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Andrii Yusov, said in a commentary to Suspilne that the drone attack on a military unit in Transnistria was a “Russian provocation.”

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