Kremlin voices concern after blasts hit breakaway Moldovan region

CHISINAU, April 26 (Reuters) – Moldova held an urgent security meeting on Tuesday and the Kremlin voiced serious concerns after two blasts damaged Soviet-era radio masts in the breakaway region of Transdniestria where authorities said a military unit was also targeted.

The Moldovan authorities are sensitive to any sign of growing tensions in Transdniestria, an unrecognized Moscow-backed sliver of land bordering southwestern Ukraine, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russia has had troops permanently based in Transdniestria since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kyiv fears the region could be used as a launch pad for new attacks on Ukraine. read more

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“In the early morning of April 26, two explosions occurred in the village of Maiac, Grigoriopol district: the first at 6:40 and the second at 7:05,” Transdniestria’s interior ministry said.

No residents were hurt, but two radio antennae that broadcast Russian radio were knocked out, it said.

Separately, Transdniestria’s Security Council reported a “terrorist attack” on a military unit near the city of Tiraspol, Russia’s TASS news agency reported. read more

It gave no further details.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the news was a cause for serious concern and that Moscow was following events closely.

Transdniestria’s unrecognized president’s office ordered the terrorist threat level to be raised to red and said that checkpoints would be set up at the entrances of the region’s towns. All vehicles entering at night would be checked, it said.

The incidents followed a number of blasts that local television reported on Monday hit Transdniestria’s ministry of state security in the regional capital, Tiraspol. Local officials said the building had been fired on by unknown attackers with grenade launchers. read more

Moldovan President Maia Sandu on Tuesday called for a meeting of the country’s Supreme Security Council in response to the incidents.

“The Supreme Security Council will meet from 1300 (1000 GMT) at the Presidency. After the meeting, at 1500, President Maia Sandu will hold a press briefing”, the president’s press office said in a statement.

On Monday, the Moldovan government said the Tiraspol blasts were aimed at creating tensions in a region it had no control of.

Last week, a senior Russian military official said the second phase of what Russia calls its “special military operation” included a plan to take full control of southern Ukraine and improve its access to Transdniestria. read more

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writing by Tom Balmforth and Alessandra Prentice, editing by Timothy Heritage and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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