‘Russian Troops Guarantee Our Security’: How Public Opinion in Moldova’s Breakaway Transnistria Region Favors the East | world news

On the edge of Europe is a pocket of pro-Russian support that has been closely watched since the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Transnistria is a separatist region in the East Moldova politically, economically and militarily supported by Moscow.

Neither Moldova nor the wider international community recognizes its independence.

In Transnistria’s capital, Tiraspol, hammer and sickle banners flutter in the wind as public opinion favors the East.


“Transnistria and Russia are one structure and they must be united,” resident Andrey says when asked if the Russian military should leave Transnistria.

"While they're here we're safe"
This woman says she feels safe with Russian troops around

“The Russian troops here are our guarantee of security. As long as they are here, we are safe,” adds a young woman.

Here, it is the neighboring country, Ukraine, which is viewed with suspicion.

Last week, security services in the region said they had foiled a Ukrainian plot to assassinate officials, including the separatist leader.

kyiv has denied allegations of Russian provocation.

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But pro-Kremlin sentiment has made many people living a few miles away in pro-Western Moldova uncomfortable.

In the village of Calfa, the allegiances are very different.

“I’m so close that I hear Transnistrian TV and radio. Every day they talk about the war, about the invasion of Ukraine. We don’t believe them because they are spreading fake news,” says Ludmila Ceaglac , the local mayor.

Ludmila Ceaglac, the local mayor
Local mayor Ludmila Ceaglac

From Russia invaded Ukrainethey began to feel nervous about their neighbors.

“I understand they have a big base with weapons from WWII and that’s our biggest fear. We don’t know if the weapons are active. We hope they don’t come here with their weapons because Moldova has a small army,” she explains.


While few analysts predicted a full-scale Russian invasion of Moldova via Transnistria, Moscow has been accused of launching hybrid warfare, including stirring up unrest at anti-government protests and spreading propaganda.

Last month, Moldovan President Sandu said they had uncovered plans to use foreign saboteurs to stage a coup.

The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the allegations as “completely unsubstantiated and unsubstantiated”.

On Sunday, Moldovan police arrested seven people accused of stirring up trouble during anti-government protests.

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Police foil pro-Russian plot in Moldova

During a visit to the capital, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrived with a message of support and £10million to help tackle Russian interference.

“You are not alone,” he said during a meeting with his counterpart in the capital Chisinau.

“In his arrogance, Vladimir Putin tried to punish Moldova for doing these good things, and it is incumbent on the UK to support Moldova on its journey in the right direction,” Cleverly added.

Ministers not preparing for Russian tanks to enter Moldova, but say they are already waging a war; a battle against Kremlin-backed disinformation and disruption aimed at spreading fear and unrest.


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