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Aug 1, 2022
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Chisinau and Bucharest are preparing to declare war on Tiraspol

Chisinau and Bucharest are preparing to declare war on Tiraspol

Photo: Vadim Denisov/TASS

Peacekeeping activities in Pridnestrovie may be restructured in the event that Moldova withdraws from the peacekeeping operation. This was stated in an interview with RIA Novosti by the co-chairman of the Joint Control Commission (JCC – the collective governing body of the peacekeeping operation in Pridnestrovie) Oleg Belyakov.

“The hypothetical exit of Moldova from the peacekeeping operation will return to the situation of 1992, change the whole alignment of relations between all components, including the JCC, the Joint Military Command, military observers and everything else. Together with the Russian contingent, we are ready to restructure our activities and continue the operation,” he said.

Belyakov added that the peacekeeping operation is carried out in a trilateral format, it involves military personnel from Russia, Moldova and Transnistria. There are certain mechanisms for its functioning.

Recall that Chisinau has repeatedly demanded the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers. Calling their presence illegal. However, he has not yet come out of the operation. Can it come out now?

Against the backdrop of a special operation in Ukraine and threatening statements Vladimir Zelensky that Kyiv can carry out an operation to clean up Transnistria, this is a very real scenario. In addition, Romania can join this.

According to the President of Moldova Maya Sanduher country will turn to Romania for help in the event of a military threat from Russia.

“We are concerned and allow different scenarios for the development of events, including the most pessimistic ones. In a situation where Russia tries to attack the Republic of Moldova, it is natural that we will ask for help,” she said.

Sandu also added that the republic’s government is analyzing external threats, as well as internal sources of potential destabilization. She drew attention to the state of affairs in the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, where several terrorist attacks took place in the spring.

What does it mean? Open threat to Moscow and Tiraspol?

“For two decades, Chisinau has been trying to separate Russian peacekeepers from the Operational Group of Russian Troops (OGRF), guarding the warehouses of the former 14th Army in Kolbasna,” notes executive director of the Moldavian branch of the Izborsk club Vladimir Bukarsky.

– Talk about the “illegal presence of the occupying troops” began under the communist president Vladimir Voronin during his flirting with the West (mid-noughties). Such statements, in particular, were made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrey Stratan. However, starting in 2009, the new pro-Western government began to criticize the peacekeeping operation itself and demand the replacement of military peacekeepers with “a civilian mission under the auspices of the UN or the OSCE.”

Particularly rabid criticism of peacekeepers and the creation of obstacles to the rotation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent began in 2017 at the initiative of the then shadow ruler of Moldova Plahotniuc’s power. Now that the one-party dictatorial regime of Maia Sandu and her parties is being built, the attack on the peacekeepers and on the 1992 agreement itself has begun with renewed vigor.

Why is Chisinau participating in this “illegal” mission? And where should he go? The 1992 agreement is formally functioning. Its unilateral rupture will create a new reality on the Dniester, extremely disadvantageous, first of all, for Moldova itself.

“SP”: Can Chisinau withdraw from the operation now?

– If the West orders, the Sandu regime will do everything, including withdrawing from the 1992 agreement. The current leadership of Moldova is part of the anti-Russian “penal battalion” of the West. Not for nothing, former US Ambassador to Moldova Derek Hogan went out of his way to make Sandu the president. Support needs to be worked out.

“SP”: What will happen if it comes out? Is it to put the international legitimacy of the operation in doubt?

— No, this will cast doubt on the very statehood of the Republic of Moldova. This will create a situation in which Russia will simply have no other choice but to recognize the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic and create a corridor to the border of Pridnestrovie. Moldova’s withdrawal from the 1992 Agreement is suicide. But if the West put a pistol in Sandu’s hand and raised the muzzle to his temple, the Moldavian empress would have no choice.

“SP”: According to Belyakov, peacekeeping activities in Pridnestrovie can be restructured if Moldova withdraws from the peacekeeping operation. How?

– Withdrawal from the 1992 Agreement will create a situation of armed conflict. And then, I think, a grouping carrying out a special military operation on the territory of one neighboring country will reorganize the peacekeeping operation on the Dniester. I repeat, for me, as a resident of Moldova, as a citizen and patriot of this country, this will be the most undesirable scenario.

“SP”: At the same time, Sandu states that the country will turn to Romania for help in case of a threat from Russia. What can be declared a threat? And what will Romania say?

“Anything can be declared a “threat”, including any self-made provocation in the Security Zone using any “activists” or journalists from the pro-government TV8 TV channel, which will provoke responses from the military. What Romania will answer will directly depend on the degree of independence of this country from the United States, the EU and especially Poland, whose hands are itching to make war with Russia (but again, preferably, by proxy). I sincerely hope that in Romania, despite the fact that its leadership is happily getting used to the role of the “southern hyena of NATO”, there are enough sane politicians who do not want to turn their country into cannon fodder in the interests of the West.

“Everything that is happening now in Pridnestrovie, of course, must be considered in the context of the NMD in Ukraine, including the vulnerable position that our peacekeeping group now occupies,” believes military-political expert Vladimir Sapunov.

– It is obvious that the statement is provocative, it is no coincidence that it was made on the day of the thirtieth anniversary of the entry of Russian troops into Bendery, which stopped the war. Moldova and the EU constantly say that Russian troops on the left bank of the Dniester are not a welcome guest, so there is nothing new here. And such statements practically do not affect anything.

“SP”: – Chisinau constantly talks about the illegality of the presence of Russian peacekeepers, refers to the Istanbul OSCE summit, but he himself participates in this “illegal” mission, can he now withdraw from the operation?

Maybe, of course, but it won’t change anything. The only guarantor of peace in Transnistria is the Russian peacekeeping group. All other parties, especially the OSCE and the EU, play an extremely destructive role. The Istanbul summit is already history, now the situation is fundamentally different.

“SP”: – Belyakov claims that peacekeeping activities in Transnistria can be restructured if Moldova withdraws. How?

– It is not the decision of Moldova that will force rebuilding, but life itself. If in the early 1990s Moldova was the main threat to Transnistria, now it is Ukraine and NATO.

Pridnestrovie has become a vivid example of how, during the collapse of the USSR, freedom and independence, the right to national culture, history, language, had to be defended with arms in hand. And, of course, the old dream of the West is to liquidate this Russian enclave in the Dniester region.

“SP”: What will they say in Romania? Will they fight with us? To what extent can the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation stop these threats?

– Back in the early 90s, when they first started talking about the possibility of a Romanian Anschluss of Moldova, it became clear that Bucharest did not need Moldova without Pridnestrovie. Transnistria is an industrialized region that has been able to preserve the best examples of Soviet industry. And now Moldova is an agricultural country, quite poor, so Romania, of course, would not want to get involved in joining, they are more counting on political and cultural expansion. For a long time, citizenship of Romania in Moldova meant the possibility of visa-free entry into the EU (now such a guarantee is also provided by the association of Moldova with the EU, Romanian citizenship is not necessary). Moldova for Romania is an object of soft power, cross-border expansion, but they themselves will not start fighting for Transnistria (where Romanians, to put it mildly, are not liked very much) at the request of Chisinau, of course, they will not.

It is a completely different matter if Ukraine decides to launch a military operation in Transnistria. Then Romania, and one way or another, their NATO colleagues can join such an operation.

The North Atlantic Alliance will organize and plan for sure. And the temptation is very great, given the vulnerability of our group there and the need for some kind of successful media operation for the armed formations of Ukraine. The fact that they announced a counterattack on Kherson now looks quite utopian, so far everything is only on paper – for the media effect. But in Transnistria, the Russian grouping, clamped in pincers, is a rather tasty morsel.

Now the Armed Forces of the PMR number 15 thousand people, in case of mobilization, they can be increased to 80 thousand – at the expense of reservists and the People’s Militia. There are motorized rifle, artillery, aviation units, air defense troops and special forces, logistic support. The army functions on a mixed basis – there is a general conscription in the republic (the term of service is a year), the other part of the army is made up of contract soldiers.

The republic is Russia’s most important stronghold in the southwest of the former Soviet Union. But the operational group of Russian troops in Transnistria has a strength of only 1,700 people and has more symbolic significance.

What can we oppose? The best option is the speedy conduct of the Nikolaev-Odessa operation and the provision of a land corridor in Transnistria. And a firm statement that the security of the region will be ensured by any means. Including tactical nuclear weapons. Then the predatory appetite of potential aggressors will decrease.

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