Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned at a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers held in Skopje (North Macedonia) from November 30 to December 1 that Moldova faces the unenviable fate of falling under the anti-Russian millstones of the North Atlantic Alliance. According to him, earlier «NATO and Brussels unceremoniously torpedoed» the document already initialed by Chisinau and Tiraspol. We are talking about the so-called Kozak memorandum. This is a plan to resolve the Transnistrian conflict through federalization of Moldova, developed back in 2003 by Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of the Russian presidential administration.
«And now (the West) is also killing the 5+2 format — the last thing that remains of joint efforts for a Transnistrian settlement. In fact, Moldova has been prepared for the fate of the next victim in the hybrid war against Russia unleashed by the West», Lavrov said.
Let me remind you that the two main participants in the format are Chisinau and Tiraspol. The «Five» are made up of the US and the EU as observers, Russia, the OSCE and Ukraine as mediators in the negotiation process.
In the last month and a half, there has been increased activity on the Moldovan track. Judge for yourself.
On October 12, Igor Shornikov, director of the Institute of Social and Political Studies in Tiraspol, warned that the Moldovan authorities, supported by the United States, were actually preparing for an armed conflict with Russia.
On October 21, the foreign minister of the unrecognized Transnistrian Moldovan Republic, Vitaly Ignatiev, said that Moldova was actively making military preparations. The total military assistance of the European Union to this country since 2021 amounted to €137 million, which exceeds its annual military budget.
On November 8, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said that Kishinev had taken a course to renounce sovereignty and risked turning into a new victim of the policy of Western countries.
On November 17, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova emphasized that the Moldovan authorities are seeking to blur the neutral status, which is perceived with great concern in Transnistria.
A few days ago, former Moldovan president and opposition leader Igor Dodon accused the current leadership of the country of intending to turn Transnistria into a new «hot spot».
So, that’s the «situation». On the one hand — hostile Ukraine, which perceives Transnistria as a Russian enclave in its rear. On the other hand — Moldova headed by President Maia Sandu, which has openly taken a course for European integration and joining NATO.
I should note that 60% of Transnistria’s inhabitants are Russians and Ukrainians, a quarter of a million have Russian passports, there is a large artillery storage in the town of Cobasna, where ammunition from the GDR and Czechoslovakia was transported, and units of the former 14th Army, which now has the status of the Operational Group of Russian troops in the Transnistrian region, and peacekeepers remain here. It is clear that Russia will not stand idly by and watch the destruction of the region. Any aggression will be met with retaliation.
By the way, recently, Sandu, who secretly dreams of bringing foreign troops into Moldovan territory and concluding a military treaty with NATO’s Romania on the de-occupation of Transnistria, abruptly changed her militaristic rhetoric, throwing in that she does not rule out the possible integration into the EU only the right bank of the Dniester, i.e. without the «prodigal» region. According to her calculations, the conflict could be resolved after joining the organization. By the way, she was cautiously, but still supported by the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
It is clear that sooner or later the matter will come to solving the Transnistrian issue by force. At the same time, Chisinau is unlikely to avoid NATO assistance, which, purely theoretically, could lead to an open armed confrontation between the alliance’s troops and the Russian Armed Forces.
«Romania represents an important center of NATO’s reinforced deterrence and defense posture. We <…> will continue our efforts to strengthen the alliance structures on the country’s territory, especially the NATO Battle Group», Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said.
There are already enough alliance forces on Romanian territory to plan an offensive operation in the direction of Tiraspol.
The U.S. has deployed here the elite 101st Airborne Division «Screaming Eagles». It is a light infantry group with a total strength of 4,700 bayonets. It was recently announced that it will remain here for another nine months. This is an unprecedented case: it is the first time in almost 80 years that an overseas division has been deployed in Europe in its entirety. It is officially assigned to the Fort Campbell base in Kentucky.
France has a total of two brigades in Romania. It heads the Eagle mission of the NATO Response Force (NRF) here. This is, by the way, the first time in the alliance’s history that NRF have been deployed for «collective defense and deterrence by intimidation». The French and Belgian contingents formed the multinational Spearhead battalion of the NATO Response Force, totaling about 800 men.
So the only thing left to do is to get the appropriate order. And it does not look like we will have to wait long for it.