Transnistrian Troubles?

Friday, 24 February 2023 — The van says…

The state of Transnistria might not be well known internationally, but Kiev might do well to leave it well alone.


Over recent days, there has been an increase in the reports stating that the Ukrainian Army will soon launch operations to take the Russian-protected territory of Transnistria. This shorter article will look at the ins and outs, examining what an operation such as this may mean for the future.


The territory of Transnistria or Pridnestrovia as it is also known, is a small republic lying to the southeast of Moldova. As the USSR finally ceased to be, this state broke away from the region of Moldova just before Moldova in turn broke away from Romania. After a short war, a situation of detente has existed between the Moldovan capital Chișinău and its counterpart in Transnistria, Tiraspol. A large force of Russian peacekeepers has been present in Transnistria for nearly thirty years now, yet this is causing antagonism with both Zelenskiy and Sandu, the Moldovan president. One matter of note is that Transnistria is still home to thousands of tons of Soviet-era artillery shells stored in arsenals. It is well known that the Ukrainian war effort is being immeasurably hampered by a shortage of munitions and these two facts cannot be overlooked when talking of a potential invasion. The subject of Transnistria was covered in much greater detail in this older article.

The Ukraine Today

With failing fortunes and a lack of both human and material resources, there has never been a worse time for Kiev to launch an operation such as this. That said, against a backdrop of a not-so-gradual failure in fortunes, both Kiev and the Western capitals that support it need all the good news they can get. With media spin being what it is, any attack on territory seen as Russian will be on every front page, a ragtag army of misfits and compelled conscripts being vaunted as the heroes of freedom. The truth of the matter however is not so simple.

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Although Kiev can still amass an immense amount of resources, for the most part, they are of subprime quality to say the least. After a year of the Ukrainian Armed Forces being beaten by Russia, many of the best men and machines are already gone forever. That said, it can be guaranteed that with there being an effective blockade on Transnistria from both the Ukraine and Moldova, the Russians will be in a corner; knowing this, Kiev, just as we have seen in Artemovsk, will just throw resources at the campaign in the hope of victory.

A Poisoned Chalice

For all the headlines that are likely to appear in the West regarding Kiev’s invasion of Transnistria, this will, in contrast, steel the opinion of the Russian public; not only will this give popular support to the Special Military Operation, but it will also increase anti-Ukrainian sentiment. It goes without saying that Russia will eventually push towards and then beyond Odessa, and a stunt such as this by Zelenskiy will only reinforce pressure on the Kremlin to move faster in this direction. It goes without saying, that when the Bear does get into its stride, it simply will not stop at the Ukrainian border.

Moldovan Malfeasance

The last year has seen all kinds of arcane maneuvers on the part of governments favored by Washington, and in spite of the Ukrainians invading territory claimed by Chișinău, there will likely be no uproar from many of the Moldovans. Sandu is heading government during a time of unprecedented pressure and economic turmoil, and was one pro-American puppet to take the territory claimed by another from the Russians, this would be banded as a triumph against Moscow rather than a fight between the fleabitten dogs of Eastern Europe.

The Atlantic Angle

Just as the political scenery in Eastern Europe has seen great upheaval over the last year, NATO is also having to adapt to a new world where it no longer has the control that it once has. This has seen both Moldova and the Ukraine move much closer to NATO, and should either nation take Transnistria, it can be guaranteed that the Atlantic Alliance would see this conquest as part of its overview. Quite how soon either Chișinău or Kiev could actually see their countries as part of NATO is as yet unknown, but as much as many of its member states want both on board, other than an excuse for conflict, neither in reality have much to offer to the alliance.


Fortunes are not presently favoring the Ukraine, and its media diva of a president needs good news like never before. An westwards incursion into Transnistria would not only increase support for his country in the West, but could also cover his shortage of munitions. That is where the good news ends however.

Should he go ahead with this plan, this will enrage Moscow. The Kremlin is not presently in a position to strike a decisive blow, yet when it inevitably also heads westwards, there will be no mercy shown for those who have attacked Transnistria. This territory had declared independence before Moldova became a state, and has never been part the Ukraine. Kiev may try taking a bite-sized chunk of Eastern Europe, yet in doing do, he will eventually choke on the consequences…

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