Friday, a senior Russian general stationed in Moscow declared that Russia’s goal in Putin’s War was not just to establish a land bridge from Russia to Crimea by conquering all of the Donbas oblasts of Luhansk and Donetsk and adding Kherson Oblast and Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Instead, the objective, he claimed, was to take all of Ukraine’s coastline, seize control of Odesa, and establish road and rail connections with the Russian AstroTurfed state of “Transnistria.”
The comments from Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, seemed to hint that the Kremlin — which has been stymied in its bid to take over the Ukrainian capital — still wants to conquer wide swaths of its neighbor’s land, and potentially threaten the nations that lie beyond. They drew swift condemnation from Moldova, where residents have worried since the beginning of the war they could be next in the Kremlin’s crosshairs.
Minnekayev said capturing Ukraine’s east and south would create a “land corridor” to the Crimean Peninsula — which the Kremlin annexed in 2014 — and give Moscow influence over “vital objects of the Ukrainian economy,” according to the Russia state media outlet Tass. It would also provide “another way out to Transnistria,” Minnekayev said, referring to a thin strip of land that runs along Moldova’s border with Ukraine that functions as a separate nation, though it is not recognized as such, even by Russia.
Mimicking language used to justify Moscow’s initial invasion of Ukraine, Minnekayev indicated he was concerned by the “oppression of the Russian-speaking population” in the Transnistria enclave. The Moldovan government released a statement calling the accusations “unacceptable,” adding that the comment would “lead to increased tensions and mistrust in society.”
What the hell is Transnistria? Good question. Is it one of the gender choices that are now available? Or is it a type of swamp rat with sexual identity confusion?
Transnistria is a “breakaway” republic the Russians carved out of Moldova in 1992.
Transnistria is about one-third Russian speakers, and the decision by the Moldovan government to use the Roman alphabet (the Cyrillic alphabet was imposed under communism) and make Moldovan (a Romanian dialect) the official language caused Russia to do what it later did in Ukraine in 2014. It created a civil war that Russia used as a pretext to send in troops. It is now a loyal little toady state that has asked Moscow to annex it.
Facially, the statement by General Minnekayev is stupid. Russia does not have the combat power to carry out the plan Minnekayev laid out. It is being pressed hard around Kherson, it has yet to capture Mariupol, and it is involved in a 1915-style battle in northern Donbas. Monday, there was a series of events in Transnistria that foreshadowed a new gambit by Putin to change the nature of the war. He wants to expand it.
Monday started with an “RPG attack” on the ministry of state security. Notably, no one was injured.
The attack was apparently carried out with an RPG-22 “Netto” and a noteable RMG (bunk-buster derivative of RPG-27/RShG-1) rocket launchers. pic.twitter.com/uTqX8jdJzT
— War Noir (@war_noir) April 25, 2022
Before any investigation was conducted, the culprit was identified.