A Breakaway Region of Moldova Asks Russia for Protection

A thin sliver of land sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova asked Russia on Wednesday to provide it with protection, repeating in miniature the highly flammable scenario played out by regions of eastern Ukraine now occupied by Moscow.

The call for Russian protection by Transnistria, a self-declared but internationally unrecognized microstate on the eastern bank of the Dniester River, escalated tensions that date to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The territory, largely Russian-speaking, broke away from Moldova and, after a brief war in 1992, set up its own national government.

The appeal to Moscow was made at a special session of Transnistria’s Congress of Deputies, a Soviet-style assembly that rarely meets. At its last session, in 2006, the assembly asked to be annexed by Russia, though Moscow did not act on that request.

The latest appeal to Russia came a day before a state of the nation address in Moscow by President Vladimir V. Putin.

The Transnistria Congress appealed to the two houses of Russia’s Parliament to take unspecified measures “to protect Transnistria in the face of increasing pressure” from Moldova given that “more than 220,000 Russian citizens permanently reside in the region.”

Russian news reports quoted Vadim Krasnoselsky, the enclave’s professed president, as calling for help from Moscow because “a policy of genocide is being applied against Transnistria.” Similar incendiary and evidence-free claims were made for years by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine and used by Moscow to help justify its 2022 invasion.

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