Blasts hit ministry in separatist Transnistria, near Ukraine
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Police in the Moldovan separatist region of Transnistria, where Russia has stationed troops, say several explosions hit the Ministry of State Security building Monday that are believed to be from rocket-propelled grenades.
No injuries were immediately reported in the alleged attack, which took place on the Orthodox Easter Monday holiday in the city of Tiraspol when the building would presumably be more empty than usual. The separatists’ Interior Ministry said on Facebook that some of the building’s windows were broken and that smoke was coming from the structure.
Transnistria, a strip of land with about 470,000 people between Moldova and Ukraine, has been under the control of separatist authorities since a 1992 war with Moldova. Russia bases about 1,500 troops there, calling them peacekeepers, but concerns are high that those forces could be used to invade Ukraine from the west.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.
Moldova’s Office for Reintegration Policy said it was “concerned” about the incident.
“The aim of today’s incident is to create pretexts for straining the security situation in the Transnistrian region, which is not controlled by the constitutional authorities,” the Moldovan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
A senior Russian military official, Rustam Minnekayev, said last week that Russian forces aim to take full control of southern Ukraine, saying such a move would also open a land corridor to Transnistria.
The United States has warned previously that Russian forces could launch “false-flag” operations to create a pretext for invading the territory of other nations. Russian officials have rejected such charges.
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