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13 May, 2022 07:40

Firebomb attacks reported near Ukraine's Western border

An oil depot and conscription center were targeted in Transnistria
Firebomb attacks reported near Ukraine's Western border

Law enforcement in a breakaway region of Moldova reported two separate attacks on its capital on Friday. Transnistria’s interior ministry said Molotov cocktails were thrown at an oil depot and a conscription center, but did not cause any significant damage.

The incidents happened 30 minutes apart in the middle of the night, the ministry claimed. In one of them, an individual threw a firebomb at an oil storage facility in Tiraspol before driving away at high speed.

In the second episode, an unidentified man flung two incendiary projectiles at a building on a military site. In both cases, security quickly extinguished the flames, the report outlined.

Transnistria has been hit by a string of apparent acts of attempted sabotage involving drone-delivered explosives since the launch of Russia’s military operation against Ukraine in February. These have targeted key civilian and military infrastructure. The Moscow-aligned leadership of the entity has declared a state of emergency due to what it describes as a terrorist threat.

Transnistria, which borders Ukraine’s western Odessa region, proclaimed its independence from Moldova in 1990 after Chisinau split from the Soviet Union. Two years later, tensions between Moldova and Transnistria escalated into a five-months-long armed conflict.

Transnistria hosts a contingent of Russian peacekeepers and seeks closer ties with Moscow, going so far as using the Russian national flag as a state symbol on par with its own flag. Ukrainian military officials have repeatedly claimed that one of Russia’s primary military goals in Ukraine was to secure a route to the landlocked Moldavian region. As the drone attacks continued, Tiraspol said it had no intention of getting involved in the hostilities in Ukraine.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.