More explosions in separatist Trans-Dniester, near Ukraine
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Police in the separatist region of Trans-Dniester say two explosions on Tuesday morning in a radio facility close to the Ukrainian border knocked two powerful antennas out of service.
Trans-Dniester, a strip of land in Moldova with about 470,000 people, has been under the control of separatist authorities since a 1992 war with Moldova. Russia bases about 1,500 troops there, nominally as peacekeepers, but concerns are high that the forces could be used to invade Ukraine.
Tuesday’s blasts occurred in the small town of Maiac, roughly 12 kilometers (7 miles) west of the border, according to the region’s Interior Ministry. It comes just a day after several explosions believed to be caused by rocket-propelled grenades were reported to have hit the Ministry of State Security in the city of Tiraspol, the region’s capital.
No one was hurt in Tuesday’s explosions, officials said. The two antennas were used for broadcasting Russian radio shows. No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.
The United States has warned amid the war in Ukraine that Russia could launch “false-flag” attacks in nearby nations as a pretext for sending in troops.
A senior Russian military official, Rustam Minnekayev, said last week that Russian forces aim to take full control of southern Ukraine, saying such a move would open the way to Trans-Dniester.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu convened the Supreme Security Council on Tuesday to discuss the incidents.
The Security Council of Trans-Dniester on Tuesday reported there had been a total of three incidents in the region — explosions in Tiraspol on Monday, the ones in Maiac on Tuesday and damage to a military unit in the village of Parcani, also on Tuesday.
Officials did not offer any details on the military unit incident, but declared “a red level of terrorist threat” and promised to impose additional security measures in the region.
Trans-Dniester’s president, Vadim Krasnoselsky, called Tuesday for imposing anti-terrorist security measures at a “red level” for 15 days, including setting up blockposts at the entrances to cities.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday that the situation in Trans-Dniester “elicits concern” in the Kremlin.