The Kremlin’s targets in a new phase of the Ukrainian invasion, which began on Tuesday, were confirmed on Friday by one of the Kremlin’s senior military personnel. According to Major General Rustam Minnekayev, Russia wants to control not only eastern Ukraine (Luhansk and Donetsk regions) but also the southern part of the country in statements to the Interfax news agency. The aim is to open a corridor to the coast of Crimea (the peninsula was annexed in 2014) to Transnistria.
“Since the start of the second phase of the special operation, which began literally two days ago, one of the tasks of the Russian army has been: take full control of the Donbass and southern Ukraine. This provides the Crimea with a corridor“, confirmed the deputy head of the Russian Central War District, quoted by the state agency TASS.
It turns out that Transnistria is a region in Moldova. Russia’s admission that it intends to build access to the region may indicate a new danger of the conflict extending beyond Ukraine’s borders.
“The rule of southern Ukraine is another route to Transnistria, where there are also indications that the Russian-speaking population is being oppressed.”said Major General Rustam Minnekaev, reiterating the argument Russia used to launch an attack on Ukraine after recognizing the independence of the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Rustam Minnekaev explained the plan when he met with companies from the military-industrial complex in Yekaterinburg (Urals), Russia. According to the military, this control will also ensure “the impact on the vital infrastructures of the Ukrainian economy, the Black Sea ports through which agricultural and metallurgical products are supplied.”
Russia wants to reach the breakaway region of Moldova on the same grounds it used in Luhansk and Donetsk
The Transnistrian region corresponds to the eastern part of Moldova (the area marked with a gray dashed line in the AFP map above), a country that became independent after the break-up of the Soviet Union. There is a pro-Western government in a small Romanian-speaking area.
However, in this area, Russian is still the dominant language, and as in the already occupied regions of Ukraine, pro-Russian separatism continues.
THE the region declared independence in 1990 with the help of the Russian armed forcesHowever, it is not recognized by Moldova or any UN Member State. Despite limited recognition and not shown on most maps, the region has functioned as an independent country. It has its own constitution, flag, anthem, currency and army.
Russia has this regional strip, bounded on the west by the Dniester River and on the east by Ukraine, a permanent military unit.
The largest port in Ukraine is in sight of Russian forces
This is the “most concrete threat” Russia has posed to Moldova since the start of the war, says Pyotr Sauer, The Guardian’s international correspondent.
“We are fighting the whole world right now, like in the Great Patriotic War,” Major General Minnekayev also stated at the meeting, using the name given to Russia for World War II (1939-1945). “The whole of Europe, the whole planet was against us at the time. Now it’s the same thing, they never liked Russia.”
If this goal is realized, cities like Odessa and Mykolaiv will be in sight of Russian troops. Odessa is the largest port in Ukraine and the third largest city in the country. Attacks and fighting have already been reported in Mykolaiv, near Kherson, in an area occupied by Russian forces and subsequently received by forces loyal to Kiev.