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Zelensky suggests Russia targeting more of Europe after explosions in separatist region of Moldova

Business Insider US
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Transnistria, a pro-Russia separatist region of Moldova, reported explosions on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Ukraine blamed Russia, and Zelensky said Russia was retaliating for Moldovan support of Ukraine.
  • "The goal is obvious — to destabilise the situation in the region, to threaten Moldova," he said.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia appeared to be trying to target more of Europe after explosions in a separatist region of Moldova that borders Ukraine.

Authorities in the pro-Russia separatist region of Transnistria reported a string of attacks on Monday and Tuesday, with two explosions at a radio facility close to Ukraine's border and an attack on a military facility, Reuters reported.

Ukraine said Russia was responsible, while local forces blamed Ukraine. Russia keeps some troops in the region.

A Wednesday statement from Zelensky's office said that he believes Russia is trying to "destabilise the situation" in the Transnistria region, but that Ukraine's army were "ready for a possible escalation by Russian troops in the temporarily occupied territory of the Republic of Moldova."

He said that Russia wants to threaten Moldova for supporting Ukraine. The country has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other country in Europe, though it has not taken part in sanctions against Russia.

"The goal is obvious — to destabilise the situation in the region, to threaten Moldova. They show that if Moldova supports Ukraine, there will be certain steps."

Vitalie Marinuta, Moldova's former defence minister, told Insider's Charles R. Davis that the explosions appeared to be Russian attacks, and that Russia could be doing them so it could later justify bringing more troops into the country.

The US previously warned that Russia could launch "false flag" operations in countries near Ukraine to create an excuse to bring troops to those nations. The Institute for the Study of War think tank also called the explosions in Transnistria "false-flag attacks" by Russia.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday that the US was monitoring the situation in the Transnistria region, and was unsure of the cause of the explosions.

He said of the US that "certainly we don't want to see any spillover" of the war in Ukraine to other countries.

Zelensky also issued wider warnings about Russia's aims in eastern Europe.

In a separate speech on Tuesday, Zelensky painted Russia's invasion of Ukraine as only the beginning of an attack on Europe's unity, especially in eastern Europe.

"There are almost no people left in the free world who do not understand that Russia's war against Ukraine is just the beginning," he said.

"The ultimate goal of Russia's leadership is not just to seize the territory of Ukraine, but to dismember the entire centre and east of Europe and deal a global blow to democracy."

At a Tuesday meeting with the prime minister of Romania, which borders both Ukraine and Moldova, Zelensky said the two countries "share a common vision of both prospects and threats to European unity, in particular in the Black Sea region."

"We agreed to work together even harder to ensure security in our region," he said.

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