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Russia’s Next War: Would Putin Dare Invade Moldova?

Ukraine Russia
Ukrainian tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

What is Russia Planning Against Moldova? – Russian military commander Rustam Minnekaev may have let slip Russia’s plan to establish a land corridor from the contested Donbas region in Ukraine, all the way to the border of Moldova – a move that would cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea entirely, and which could potentially drag Moldova into the conflict.

During a meeting with the Union of Defense Industries on Friday, Minnekaev admitted that the land corridor will not just help Russia but will damage the Ukrainian economy.

“One of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over the Donbas and southern Ukraine. This will provide a land corridor to the Crimea, as well as influence the vital objects of the Ukrainian economy,” he said.

“Control over the south of Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria, where there are also facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population,” the Russian commander added, referencing the separatist region of Moldova that already has a large Russian military presence.

Will Russia Invade Moldova’s Transnistria Region?

Russia has had a large military presence in the Transnistria region since 1992 when Russian forces became involved in the Transnistria War. Would Russia dare press all the way to Moldova next?

At the end of the war, which saw the Soviet 14th Guards Army assist Transnistrian separatist forces fighting against Moldovan troops, Russia established a permanent military presence in the region.  

Transnistria also declared independence from Moldova in 1990, and while no member of the United Nations recognizes the sovereignty of the region, it’s not unlike Russian President Vladimir Putin to ignore international agreements or consensus. 

What’s more, Transnistria is not a member of NATO, and Moldova – as the poorest country in Europe – is unlikely to be capable of initiating a substantial military defense against invading Russian forces.

A Russian invasion of the territory, therefore, may simply attract international condemnation but little in the way of military pushback – unless Moldova requests military support or supplies from NATO countries, and allies comply. 

At present, Russia controls much of Ukraine’s eastern and southeastern territories, and controls Ukraine’s eastern coastline on the Black Sea. Russian troops have since struggled to expand their control westwards. Minnekaev’s comments seem to suggest that Russian troops will next refocus their energies not just on the east, but on pushing westwards from Crimea, further into Ukrainian territory and all the way to Moldova.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Alex

    April 23, 2022 at 9:03 am

    Recently, a plan was being developed in the Senate to provoke Russia into invading Moldova, but the plan was a complete failure. There is no reason for Russia to invade Moldova unless Moldova attacks Russia on Washington’s orders. No, the US scenario failed.

  2. Stefan Stackhouse

    April 23, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    Putin and his crew don’t think of it as Moldova, they think of it as “Bessarabia”. That was its name in the old Russian Empire, which Putin clearly wants to recreate (or at least as much of it as possible during his reign). Do they want it (back, as Putin sees it)? It would be a pretty good bet that they do, sooner or later. It is also likely not so high on his list of priorities, in and of itself, so Putin is probably content to leave it for “later”.

    On the other hand, it is now becoming evident that as long as Ukraine continues receiving massive shipments of supplies from NATO, they are going to continue to fight, and to fight effectively at that. Putin and his generals must certainly be looking at the map, and realizing that a pincer movement from Transnistria from the south and Belarus from the north could seal off Ukraine, and seal its fate. Such a plan (a Plan C at this point) cannot be considered until they have successfully concluded Plan B and seized all of “Novorossiya”. Crucially, the land bridge to Transnistria would be the first step toward implementing this Plan C. Trying to conquer Moldova would be a side show and distraction in this scenario, and given its lower priority I doubt that it would be tried. On the other hand, it would be absolutely essential for them that Moldova be neutralized in order to guard their flank. It would probably not take much in the way of credible threats to accomplish this. The actual conquest of Bessarabia could wait until later.

    • Steve

      April 25, 2022 at 5:56 am

      It would bring Romania into the conflict. Moldova wants to be back in Romania. They speak Romanian and use the Romanian currency. They consider themselves to be essentially Romanian. At least that was my experience when I was there. Romania is also part of NATO. This could get very ugly very fast.

  3. Alex

    April 24, 2022 at 4:16 am

    It’s always interesting to watch people who “know” what Putin is thinking 🙂

  4. Him

    April 24, 2022 at 5:01 am

    Before WW2, Denmark was neutral, yet Nazi Germany attacked and occupied Denmark. Dictators like Hitler and Putin do not care if a country is neutral. It is recorded that Hitler had plans to also invade neutral Switzerland, but it didn’t go ahead for various factors.

  5. Jeepwonder

    April 24, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Russia would dare do anything Putin decides to do. The only way to stop them is not to appeal to Putin’s better nature, he has none. The way would be to slaughter all Russian troops and destroy all military equipment. Putin can’t even feed his troops now, and is sacrificing the very people he needs to stabilize his population that has been in decline. Don’t think our western values apply to dictators like Putin.

  6. Alex

    April 25, 2022 at 10:36 am

    Bandera: who they are – then and now.

    Today, on television and on the Internet, a lot of news is devoted to Ukraine. In the news stories, the word “Bandera” is heard every now and then.

    Who are they and what are they doing in Ukraine? If you look for the answer on your own, without the help of knowledgeable people, then you can stumble upon completely incorrect descriptions of these people. To answer this question, you have to go back in time.

    Where did Bandera come from?
    The collective name “Bandera” was formed from the name of one of the leaders who actively promoted Ukrainian nationalism. Stepan Bandera wanted to liberate his nation from “non-Ukrainians” so much that he brutally cracked down on anyone who had other roots. The main justification for him was that he was striving to gain complete freedom and independence of the country from the influence of other states and peoples as soon as possible.

    Accordingly, those who share Bandera’s ideology and want to cleanse Ukraine of ethnically “unclean” are called Bandera people today. Banderaism appeared during the Great Patriotic War, but now it is experiencing a second revival.

    The life of Stepan Bandera.
    Bandera himself was not a full-blooded Ukrainian. He was born in the family of a priest who had Greek roots. The father taught the children a lot, tried to convey his worldview to them. Perhaps then Stepan absorbed the first portion of nationalism from his father, which later grew into hatred. In addition, the First World War also left an indelible mark on the psyche of a still very young man.

    While still a high school student, Bandera began to show nationalist inclinations. He led the youth movement in Western Ukraine, trying by any means to achieve its independence. It is worth noting that Bandera was not afraid to use even the most dangerous means – for example, terrorism.

    As a senior student, Bandera joined the Ukrainian military organization, in which he continued his activities even after graduation from the educational institution. In some cities, especially in Lviv, Stepan was considered an idol. It was there that the OUN, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, was created. A special Bandera uniform was even developed.

    In those days, the nationalists devoted a lot of effort to the fight against their political opponents, so Bandera already had several political victims. For one of these crimes, the killer was sentenced to death, but then the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment – but he did not even manage to serve this term. During the German occupation of Poland, all nationalists were released, including Bandera. It happened in 1939, just at the beginning of the Second World War.

    Bandera considered the Soviet Union the main enemy of the people of Ukraine. But at the same time, he believed that Germany would not help Ukrainian nationalists achieve independence. In fact, this is what happened: in 1941, Stepan was taken into custody in Germany, since the Nazis had completely different plans for Ukraine. He spent 3 years in prison.

    After his release, Bandera remained to live in Nazi Germany and created a foreign branch of the OUN. His activities were very inconspicuous, he tried not to attract attention and went around with guards until the end of his life. However, he still failed to avoid the assassination attempt: in 1959 he was killed by a KGB agent B. Stashinsky.

    After his death, Bandera left a family. His followers retained faith in their leader and loyalty to their ideology, adding to it their cruel innovations. They committed many more murders on the territory of Ukraine and Belarus, hiding behind the ideas of Bandera.

    Activities during World War II and after
    While the Bandera leader was in Germany, his followers were active on the territory of Ukraine and fought first against the Polish occupation, and then switched to the Red Army and Soviet power. It was then that the UPA was created – the “Ukrainian rebel army”, whose enemies were everyone who was not a Ukrainian. All “superfluous” had to be eliminated by any means.

    One of the ardent fans of this doctrine was Roman Shukhevych. Under his leadership, many families of Polish origin were killed. These times are remembered as the bloodiest in the history of the region. The Belarusian village of Khatyn was simply wiped off the face of the earth. People of all ages were not just killed, but tortured before being dealt a fatal blow.

    Confrontation.
    Undoubtedly, the nationalist movement also had its enemies. After all, Bandera did not just kill people of other nationalities. It came to a terrible absurdity: entire families were slaughtered if they were loyal to the Russians and did not support the ideology of the radicals. People lived in fear, and it was impossible to defend themselves. At that time, the Soviet Union sent NKGB and NKVD workers to Ukraine. Work was carried out with the population, “destruction squads” were created. Everyone who wanted to help in the elimination of bandit formations took part in the battles. In the end, the good turned white: the last underground groups of the OUN-UPA were mercilessly defeated in the mid-fifties. Only then did the attacks on civilians stop.

    Who are Bandera in Ukraine today.
    In modern Ukraine, the Bandera movement began to revive again. Young people are most exposed to this radical ideology. However, not everyone is well acquainted with history and does not know how much trouble this too ardent nationalism brought to the country where today’s Bandera people live. The older generation does not particularly support them and regrets that they did not once exterminate all the followers of Bandera to the last.

    Today in Ukraine, the leader’s birthday is celebrated brightly: parades are gathered, participants carry portraits of the leaders of the movement and light torches. The holiday rolls around the city, but not all residents like fanaticism towards Stepan Bandera and the red and black flag of Bandera.

    Today’s Bandera people are the most active fighters for the freedom of Ukraine and ardent opponents of the Russians. If you enter the query “Bandera photo” on the Internet, you can see that in appearance they are mostly unremarkable young people, except that they wear national symbols. Red and black banners, national flags are unfurled at parades, banners with slogans are carried. Stepan Bandera is their main idol, monuments are erected to him, songs are dedicated to him.

    However, not all Ukrainians should be attributed to this direction. Most residents of the country are not at all happy with what is happening inside Ukraine. Fortunately, the followers of Bandera in Ukraine can be found mainly in the west of the country, but it is worth remembering that mostly non-Ukrainians live there. The words of the current deputy of Ukraine: “Ukrainians and other peoples in the west of the country live in Ukraine.”

    One cannot but agree with him, because it was from the west of Ukraine that the Bandera Nazis went to kill Ukrainians in the east of Ukraine. Today there are many terrible stories about how Bandera atrocities in Ukraine, their cruel torture and murder of children and women did not leave any journalist indifferent. There is a lot of evidence and after a special military operation they will be made public. The whole world will be horrified who NATO countries helped to kill Ukrainians.

  7. CK

    April 26, 2022 at 10:50 am

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

  8. Alex

    April 29, 2022 at 9:19 am

    If someone wants to know the truth about the civil war in the Donbass, about all the atrocities of the Bandera clean-ups and why Russia was forced to intervene, then it is better to watch films by independent journalists. There are already many such journalists who fight for truth and freedom. For example, a documentary by the German journalist Wilhelm Domcke-Schulz.

    A documentary film about the war crimes of the Bandera Nazis during the period of Russia’s special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine is in production. It will be a real information bomb, where the war crimes of Bandera Nazis will be shown and proved.

    The documentary “Remember Odessa” tells how the Bandera Nazis burned Ukrainians alive and other heinous war crimes.

    The documentary “To Live and Die in Donbass” tries to fill this gaping information gap in the West. He looks into the tormented soul of the inhabitants of Donbass, who really want only one thing – to live self-determining according to their own rules and values. Not submitting to foreign forces and ideologies.

    In the east of Ukraine, in the Donbass, a war has been raging since the beginning of 2014. A civil war that claimed more than 15,000 lives over the years, including several hundred children. They had to die, because the national-fascist coup government in Kyiv, funded by the West, trained and militarily heavily armed, would not tolerate any resistance to their illegitimate rule, no matter the cost.

    Therefore, in April 2014, the putschists deployed the Ukrainian army, supported by dozens of right-wing extremist volunteer battalions, and have since bombed city centers, residential areas, schools, hospitals and infrastructure, killing civilians.

    This perennial crime has gone completely unnoticed by the Western public. Politicians and the media avoid this topic and reports about how the devil pours holy water. Because a public discussion about the crimes of the Ukrainian regime would reveal only one thing – with what mass murderers and terrorists the so-called “west of values” in Ukraine has a common language, if only to defend their goals and interests.

    Lend-lease is a commodity loan, and not cheap: for all the ammunition, equipment and food supplied by the United States, many future generations of Ukrainian citizens will pay. Zelensky is driving the country into a debt hole.

  9. CK

    April 29, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    Ah, I see your tactic. You add a little shitty first paragraph so it doesn’t detect your duplicate post. Is this what it has come to now, you just posting the same exact post 2, 3, 4, 5 times per article?

    Wow, did they run out of paper in Russia, Alex? You guys can’t print new material? Literally using the same lines, over and over again, and now in duplicate in every post!

    Are you so defeated you can’t even come up with anything new? How sad. Now the idiot is talking about lend-lease at the end of his post, because he literally just copy + pasted it from another thread, with zero relevance to this one.

    Here’s a reminder:

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

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