US monitoring blasts in breakaway Moldovan region
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Tuesday that the U.S. is monitoring explosions in the Moldovan breakaway region of Transdniestria amid the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.
The blasts damaged two radio towers in the region, where Russia has had troops since the Soviet Union dissolved, Reuters reported.
Austin said the U.S. is aware of the reports of “recent violence” and that officials are “still looking to the cause of that.”
“We’re not really sure what that’s all about, but that’s something that we’ll stay focused on,” he added.
Moldova’s president said the attacks were made to spark further tensions in an already volatile area, according to Reuters.
The blasts came days after Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, said Russia has goals to make a path from Crimea, the Ukrainian territory it annexed in 2014, to Transnistria.
Transdniestria’s interior ministry said no one was hurt in the blasts, but the two towers that were knocked out assisted Russian broadcasts, Reuters noted.
Officials in the country are labeling it a “terrorist attack.”
Ukraine is claiming the blasts in Moldova were planned by Russia, according to CNN.
Austin said the U.S. is hoping the war will not spill over into Moldova and added that the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to take back all its territory, including in eastern and southern Ukraine, where Minnekayev said Russia wants full control.
The Washington Post reported that the Russian foreign ministry said the Kremlin does not want a situation where it “will have to intervene in the conflict in Transnistria.”
Ukrainian officials are using that statement to show the fighting will not end in their country.
“They are not going to stop. The command of the russian central military district announced the next victim of the russian aggression,” Ukraine’s defense ministry tweeted. “After gaining control over the southern Ukraine, russia plans to invade Moldova, where they say russian speakers are being ‘oppressed.’”